Early Cancer Detection: Steps to Take to Remain Health Aware

Detecting cancer early increases a patient’s treatment success. Two major components of detecting cancer early are screening and education. In a lot of cases, the earlier cancer is detected and treatment is started, the better chances the patient has of full recovery. Once cancer develops, doing self-exams, getting regular medical check-ups, and getting the right types of testing and screening done will help with early cancer detection.

There are various tests, screenings, self-exams and medical exams that are given for the detection of cancer, after which it is treated with radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapy. Cancer patients often go through treatment provided by a team of specialists, which include a surgeon, an oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and other medical professionals. These specialists might choose to offer a single medical treatment or a combination of them. It all depends on the stage of the cancer, where it is located, the patient’s health, age and other factors.

Reading the Signs for Early Detection

Early diagnosis of cancer starts with being able to recognize warning signs and taking action quickly. When the patient, along with the physicians and other health care providers have an increased awareness of possible cancer signs, it can really play a significant role in early detection of the disease. Some, but not all, early cancer signs include sores that do not heal, lumps, abnormal bleeding, chronic hoarseness, and persistent indigestion. Early detection is most relevant for cancers of the cervix, breast, larynx, mouth, rectum and colon, and skin.

Cancers that Can Be Detected Early

When a woman turns 40 years old, it is recommended she start receiving yearly mammograms. Breast exams provided in the clinic should be done every 3 years for women in the age group of 20 through their 30s and once a year for women who are 40 years old or over. They should understand the normal feel and look of their breasts and immediately report any changes to their doctor. Women who have a family history of breast cancer or a genetic tendency should also be screened with MRI in addition to the mammograms.

When a woman turns 21 years old, cervical cancer screening should be started. A pap test should be given every 3 years for women ages 20 through 29 and an HPV test should be given every 5 years in addition to the pap test for women ages 30 through 65.

For people who smoke, they are at a higher risk of lung cancer and should be tested. You are a candidate for screening if you meet the following criteria:
* You are between the ages of 55 to 74
* Your health is fairly good
* You have a smoking history of 30 packs a year or more
* You are still smoking or you quit less than 15 years ago

Remember, only by having tests and screening done can you absolutely know if you have cancer and detect it early enough to be able to do something about it.