Cancer : Early Diagnosis Improves Survival

Research indicates that screening reduces ailments and mortality caused by cancer.

Although cancer may be a frightening illness for a majority of people, today several forms and types of cancer are fully treatable. Research has indicated that the death rate of cancer patients has reduced due to 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. 


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Early detection of abnormal cells cannot be known if people do not go for frequent voluntary screening which is that test which looks for early signs of cancer in people without symptoms. Screening, experts underline, can help doctors find and treat several types of cancer early, before they cause symptoms. Early detection is important because when abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread, making it difficult to treat. However, cancer screening is for people with no symptoms at all. If you have symptoms, doctors say do not wait for a screening invitation, but go to the hospital immediately.  


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Research shows that cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage, when it is not too large and has not spread, is more likely to be treated successfully. Information from the UK cancer research centre has revealed almost all women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survived the disease for at least five years or more. That is why it is advisable  for women to palpate their breast very often for any lump or carry out a mammography, which is an x-ray picture of the breast, to find any tumours that are too small to feel in the breast. Statistics also reveal that more than nine in 10 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at its earliest stage survive the disease. As such, doctors urge women to take the rectovaginal pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound exam as required. There is evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that screening of women between the ages of 30 and 65 for cervical cancer every three to five years reduces the incidence and mortality of 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 of women who have not been vaccinated. 


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Experts also recommend that men, starting at the age of 45 who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, should get a PSA blood test to detect prostate cancer. 


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Heavy smokers as well as those who have quit smoking within the past 15 years are also urged to screen for lung cancer. National Cancer Institute advises that starting at age 50, both men and women should get a colon and rectal cancer screening. People should take charge of their body and consult for any unusual spot. 


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