Catching Cancer Early Is A Really Big Deal
It’s been said that “no news is good news” but not knowing the news is about as bad as it gets. Ignorance may be bliss, but it can kill you.
And that’s true when it comes to detecting cancer early. Nobody wants to receive a cancer diagnosis, but if you’re going to get one it is better to find out earlier rather than later.
The success of cancer treatment starts to be determined the moment the disease is detected; the earlier it’s discovered, the sooner you can begin treatment—which will hopefully improve your chances of beating it. At the first moment of diagnosis, two questions immediately come to mind: “What stage is it?” and “What are my chances of beating it?” Early detection makes it more likely that you’ll get the answers you like to those questions.
To help increase vigilance (but not paranoia), it’s important to follow some basic rules. First, be aware of the general symptoms of cancer and noticeable changes in your body, such as unusual lumps, abnormal bleeding, and constant indigestion.
However, not everyone displays symptoms of cancer until it has advanced to later stages. As a result, it’s also important to discuss with your doctor about your family’s history of cancer, as well as any behaviors you engage in that might make you vulnerable to the disease, such as smoking. By bringing these things to your doctors’ attention, he can recommend routine screenings in order to detect early development of cancer you’re already at risk for.
Statistics show that roughly 70 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer find out when they are in stage three or four – the most advanced stages of cancer. As a result, the survival rate of those diagnosed with lung cancer drops to as low as 15 percent. On the other hand, studies have shown that early screening for breast cancer decreases the number of deaths.
In addition to vigilance and maintaining a general state of good health, modern technology can play a significant role in early cancer detection. With the help of advanced computer imaging, doctors can discover the exact location of cancer- no matter how well it’s hidden inside the body. There are a variety of technologies that can be used, including CT scans, mammograms and endoscopic ultrasounds.
It’s important for you to know what’s possible, but it’s more important that you begin a dialogue with your physician. Now.
For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System Cancer Services, visit http://ckcancer.crozerkeystone.org. You can also call 1-866-695-HOPE (4673) to request an appointment with a physician who cares for cancer patients.