How to Detect various types of cancers in the early stage to avoid cancer

Posted by Rajesh333 on February 25th, 2019

Worldwide each year on 4 February, researchers and key leaders in Cancer care community unite and celebrate World Cancer Day by raising awareness & education about cancer, its avoidance, detection and treatment. With a number of moons hot missions undertaken by the researchers around the world, avoidance and cure for every cancer remain cryptic yet feasible. We understand that it is extremely difficult for patients to find and fight cancer. Information about cancer on the internet is too precise and not actionable for all. In an effort to overpass this gap I will be briefing the latest updates on cancer, its prevention, detection and cure.

 

What is cancer and why does it grow?

We call it cancer when the cells multiply and spiral way ahead of control, mostly spurred by a mutation (defect) in the genes. It can be inherited or triggered by substantial factors (hormones or inflammation, for example), or even environmental influences such as dangerous chemicals. More often than not, the interchange between our lifestyle choices and environmental factors determine our risk for cancer.

Early diagnosis generally increases the chances of successful treatment by focusing on detecting symptoms as early as possible. Some of the early evident signs of cancer include sores that fail to heal, persistent indigestion, constant hoarseness, abnormal bleeding, and lumps. The late-stage presentation is noticed commonly in people from lower possessions and vulnerable population. As a result, they are more parallel to the poor likelihood of survival, higher costs, which causes unnecessary deaths and disability from cancer. Early detection and treatment are more appropriate for cancers of breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum and skin.

What is cancer screening?

The process of identifying cancer before a person develops any symptoms is called cancer screening. Early detection of cancer or any atypical tissue can help in early treatment before cancer may develop and spread. However, one must remember that just getting a screening test doesn’t always mean that a person is alleged to have cancer. Cancer screening gives a heads-up to receive best-in-class care in preventing and treating cancer. 

There are different methods to screen cancers, some of which include:

  • Person’s family and medical history: A person’s individual history including habits like smoking tobacco, alcohol consumption etc and family history of the presence of any type of cancer is taken.  
  • Physical examination: Examination of the body to recognize general signs of health and the presence of any abnormalities like lumps.
  • Laboratory tests: Investigations in which tests are performed on samples of body tissue, blood, urine, and other fluids of the body.
  • Imaging tests: Investigations like X-ray, MRI etc of areas inside the body to identify any abnormalities.
  • Genetic tests: Medical tests to identify the presence of any mutations/irregular genes that may be connected to some types of cancer.

MOUTH CANCER

Early finding of oral cancer is vital in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan & Bangladesh. Tobacco (both chewed and smoked), betel nut (paan masala) & alcohol along with poor dental hygiene are the top risk factors for this aggressive cancer.

Look out for difficulty and pain in swallowing, pain in the mouth or pain/lump in the neck. Since there is no helpful screening program to catch it early, watch out for tell-tale signs like a mouth-ulcer that doesn’t cure in over three weeks or a white/red patch inside the mouth or lips, especially if you use tobacco or drink heavily.

Diagnosis: No single oral exam or oral cancer screening test is confirmed to reduce the risk of dying of oral cancer. Still, you and your dentist may choose that an oral exam or a special test is right for you based on your risk factors.

Rx: Surgery is the most important treatment modality. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are adjuncts. Modern oncoplastic and reconstructive surgery can restore the smile.

COLORECTAL CANCER

Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer. Both men and women have a normal risk of 4.5% and it increases in their 40s & 50s. Almost 71% of cases arise in the colon and 29% in the rectum.

Look out for continual abdominal discomfort, rectal bleeding, weakness or fatigue, and a transform in bowel habits such as diarrhea, change in nature of stools.

Diagnosis: Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are useful in colorectal cancer screening. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) are other tests that demonstrate reduced deaths due to colorectal cancer from biennial screening.

Rx: Treatment of colorectal cancer is multidisciplinary and includes surgery, chemotherapy, and HIPEC. Other treatment options comprise of immuno-oncology, biological therapy, liver-directed therapy, & radiation therapy.

BREAST CANCER

The incidence of breast cancer is on the mount and is the most common cancer in women. However, it is one of the curable cancers if detected early. When detected and treated in Stage I,  9 out of 10 women survive breast cancer and live a cancer-free life.

Breast cancer is categorized depending on the tumor size, grade (how fast the tumor is likely to develop) and stage (how far the tumor has increased). You can know for breast cancer yourself by doing breast self-examination (BSE) regularly after age 20. Mammography is advised for screening after ages 40 or 50, depending on risk factors.

Look out for any changes such as redness, discharge and feel for lumps. Follow BSE with an evaluation by an oncologist every few years up to age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may need more frequent monitoring.

Diagnosis: Doctor-performed physical examination to look for any abnormality, followed by ultrasound, mammography and FNAC (fine-needle aspiration cytology, a diagnostic procedure) is used to confirm malignancy. All breast cancers are not the same. There are about 20 different types, each of which behaves differently. So receptor tests (such as estrogen receptor assay test, progesterone receptor assay test, HER2 assay test) are also done as part of the diagnostic process to ascertain the type of cancer and choose the most effective medication.

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