The importance of early detection of cancer

The importance of early detection of cancer

Although cancer may be a frightening prospect for a majority of people, today several forms and types of cancer are fully treatable. Significantly, there are a large number of cancer survivors especially in developed countries such as those in Europe and the United States. Research has indicated that the death rate of cancer patients has reduced due the scientific advancement in cancer treatment including improvement in technology, detection/diagnostic equipment, as well as genetic testing contributing to an early detection of abnormal cells before they turn into cancer cells thus increasing the chances of effective treatment.

Cancer screening

refers to the use of tests taken to detect cancer early on in people who have not yet shown symptoms of disease. The aim of screening is to reduce ailments and mortality caused by cancer. It is an effective method which is widely accepted and beneficial to people who are at risk or concerned with regards to cancer. This is important as it is one of the first actions taken to prevent disease. Furthermore, patients whose cancer is detected early on possess a higher chance of cured disease, complete recovery, increased quality of life and longevity.

Seven warning signs to seek medical support

•Loss of blood or discharge of other abnormalities from the body such as excess leucorrhea

•Presence of lumps or bumps that experiences rapid growth

•Chronic wound

•Abnormalities or changes in defecation and urination patterns

•Hoarseness or chronic coughing

•Difficulty in swallowing, loss of appetite or weight

•Changes that occur in warts moles, and birthmark such as unusual growth

Cervical cancer

There is suffifificient evidence that screening of women between the ages of 30 and 65 years for cervical cancer precursors every 3–5 years reduces the incidence and mortality of cervical cancer.

Reference: IARC, 2005 and Sankaranarayanan et al., 2007

Cervical cancer

According to The American Cancer Society, all women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for their age groups similar to those women who have not been vaccinated.

Reference: Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer; American Cancer Society 2015

Prostate cancer

The American Cancer Society recommends men, starting at age 45 years old who  have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, should get a PSA blood test (with or without rectal exam).
Reference: Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer; American Cancer Society 2015

Lung cancer

The American Cancer Society suggests that heavy smokers (at least a 30 pack-year history*) and are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the past 15 years should be tested for lung cancer especially with an annual low-dose CT scan of the chest.
*A pack-year is the number of cigarette packs smoked each day multiplied by the number of years a person has smoked.
Reference: Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer; American Cancer Society 2015

Colon and rectal cancer

Following the recommendations made by The American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute, starting at age 50, both men and women should get a colon and rectal cancer screening by either sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy at least every 5-10 years.

Reference: Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer; American Cancer Society 2015 and National Cancer Institute 2015

Liver cancer

Overwhelming lines of epidemiological evidence have indicated that persistent infection with
hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major risk for the development of liver cancer. Thus anti-HCV is theoretically used for basic screening and closed monitoring of liver cancer.

Ovarian cancer

Recently, CA 12-5 and HE4 are widely used as tumor markers for early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Approximately 80- 85% of women with ovarian cancer have raised these tumor markers compared with women who do not have ovarian cancer.

– Cancer Research UK
– Assessing Ovarian Cancer Risk with the ROMA Algorithm (2014)

Consult a cancer specialist