Early Detection

Early Detection

Prevention is preferable to cure - this is a common saying that also applies to cancer. It is estimated that70% of all cancer deaths are due to advancement of the illness because it was not detected early in stage 1 or 2. Detecting a cancer early will not only help in the treatment, but also can permanently eradicated the cancer by taking early and appropriate action. It is recommended to have a routine examination which can be a systemic, general physical examination, or specific biochemical assays. More often a doctor can find a sign of cancer during an examination or while treating the patient for something else other than cancer. Often cancer symptoms can go unnoticed for a long time which makes it difficult to identify the illness. Losing weight for no reasons in a short period of time, a sore that doesn’t heal, pain, anemia, weakness, difficulty in breathing, nagging cough, altered urination and bowel patterns need to be carefully reported.


Tips for early detection of cancer

  1. Whenever you visit a cancer center or any general clinic, address your issues properly especially if related to any familial tendencies, previous episodes and history of smoking, prolonged usage of certain drugs, etc. Reveal the history of your illness and all initial symptoms in detail. Check ups, blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, and all routine examinations are important steps in detecting cancer in its initial stage.
  2. Inform your doctor whether you are on a regular schedule for self-examination, such as in self breast examination.
  3. Inform your doctor whether you have undergone any surgical procedures for treatment of cancer before.
  4. Participate in mobile and free cancer detection camps that are conducted periodically by oncology centers.
  5. Any suspicious sign needs to be quickly reported. Consult with your doctor if you notice anything that is not healing after some time, or any lump or mole that is growing progressively.


Being aware of cancer symptoms is very helpful

It is a well-known fact that the earlier you discover the cancer, the better the outcome will be! It’s much better to diagnose a cancer while it’s small in size and before it has spread. Chances of a full recovery and cure through surgery by removing the tumor in the early stages are much higher than diagnosing it in the late stages.

Spread of Cancerous cells

It’s important to know and be aware of general symptoms of cancer. However one needs to remember that those symptoms are general, and they can be indication of any illness. In other words, the symptoms are not only specific to cancer, so don’t panic if you experienced any of the symptoms. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Different types of Cancer

Most cancer patients lose weight for unknown reasons in a short period of time. For instance, it will be significant if you lose more than 10 pounds in less than a month while not on a diet and there is no good reason to explain the loss. This is especially true with lung, pancreatic, and colon cancers.

Not all tumors are cancer!

Many of patients with cancer experienced fever for unknown reasons. The presence of fever usually indicates the spread of cancer; fever is usually a late symptom of cancer. Some cancers, such as leukemia (blood cancer) and lymphoma (lymph node cancer) may cause fever in the early stages.

Extreme fatigue that is not relieved with rest

Cancer can produce fatigue symptoms in two ways; either by consuming the body energy while growing quickly or by causing inexplicable blood loss, such as in colon cancer when patient loses blood through the stool.

Pain

Pain can be an early symptom, such as in bone cancer, or it can be a late symptom that indicates metastasis of cancer. For example, back pain may be due to metastatic colon, rectum, breast, or ovarian cancer.

Abnormal Changes in Skin

Abnormal changes in skin could be a sign of skin cancer or with any metastatic cancer to the skin. Those changes include:

  1. The color of the skin changes and becomes darker, yellowish or reddish,
  2. Itching all over the body,
  3. Abnormal sudden hair growth.


Why people are hesitant when it comes to early detection of cancer

  • In a research conducted based on a general population, it was found that 90% of people are somewhat hesitant to report symptoms due to some cultural beliefs.
  • Most people are afraid because they think cancer is almost a death sentence and there will not be treatment for it.
  • Some class of people are just simply careless. Ignorance is another fact.

Suggested guidelines to detect a cancer early

  • Undergoing periodic screening tests if you are in doubt or if you are at risk. That is the best strategy.
  • Meet your doctor if you experience headaches that persist, pressure in the head, tears in the eyes, or experience a feeling of irritation as it can be an indication of a brain tumor.
  • Be alert and act quickly especially if you are over the age of 50 or if your family has a history of similar illness before.
  • Women who use implants, steroidal drugs, and are planning for pregnancy need to be aware of cervical and reproductive tract cancers. In such cases, watch for bleeding, a mass or lump, urinary obstruction, and/or pain, etc.
  • Self breast examination is one of the best strategies for early detection of breast cancer.
  • Alert your doctor quickly about changes in the systemic functions.
  • Routine blood tests and tissue examinations are recommended for suspicious occurrences.