Cancer is a type of disease that can affect any part of the body. It occurs when cells in the body start to grow out of control. There are many types of cancer, and they can be treated in many ways. The best way to treat cancer is to diagnose it early when it is still in its early stages.
How Can You Diagnose Cancer Early On?
One of the best ways to diagnose cancer early is by doing routine checkups. During these checkups, health care professionals can look for signs of cancer before they become apparent. Catching cancer early on increases the chances that it can be treated successfully, either through surgery or with drugs.
What Kind of Checkups Can Help Diagnose Cancer Early On?
Many kinds of checkups can help diagnose cancer early on. Some of the most common include:
Mammograms are low-dose x-ray examinations of the breasts. These checkups can help doctors diagnose breast cancer before it spreads to other areas of the body. Mammograms are beneficial in women with a family history of breast cancer or when someone is showing symptoms that could be related to cancer.
Colonoscopies allow doctors to look directly at the colon and rectum. They can diagnose ulcers, polyps, and cancer before they become serious health issues. These examinations are most commonly used in people over 50 years old who have a family history of colorectal cancer or several risk factors like obesity or inflammatory bowel disease.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Tests
PSA tests give doctors information about a man’s prostate health. They monitor the levels of specific proteins in men over 50 years old. If these protein levels are abnormally high, it may indicate prostate cancer. A PSA test is most useful when used along with a digital rectal exam.
Doctors can also find cancer early through blood tests, although these tests are usually only used as a follow-up to initial screenings or symptoms that could indicate the presence of cancer. Blood tests look for signs of abnormal cell growth in the body, which can be an indication that cancer has begun to develop.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use high-powered magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues within the body. MRI scans can be used very early to diagnose cancer in people with symptoms that could indicate its presence. Some healthcare facilities offer upright MRI scans to detect cancer more conveniently and faster in patients with mobility issues.
How Do Doctors Treat Cancer Once They Have Diagnosed It?
Once doctors have diagnosed cancer, they can begin treating it again in many ways. This typically depends on the type of cancer being treated.
One of the most common treatments for many types of cancer is surgery. Surgeons remove tumors or damaged tissues from within the body to prevent further growth and spread of the disease.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells that cannot be removed through surgery alone. It is often used when the tumor is too large or its location makes it difficult to access with standard medical tools, like needles or scalpels. It may also be used as a follow-up to surgery if some aggressive cells remain after removal.
Chemotherapy gives cancerous cells special drugs that kill them or stop them from growing. It can be used in conjunction with surgery, radiation therapy, and other types of treatment to increase the chances of a full recovery.
Targeted Therapy is a type of treatment designed specifically for people with specific types of cancer. It uses drugs, vaccines, hormone therapies, targeted radiation, and gene therapies to target the particular characteristics found in cancer cells while minimizing side effects for healthy tissues within the body.
Preventative Measures That Can Be Taken
As mentioned earlier, the best way to treat cancer is to diagnose it early, when it is still in its early stages. This is why many preventative measures can be taken to keep it from developing.
Checkups and Screenings
Screenings and checkups allow doctors to monitor the health of specific areas within the body for changes that could indicate if cancer has begun to develop. These include routine doctor visits and mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate exams, blood tests, and other types of examinations that can help identify signs of developing cancer before they become serious health concerns.
Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables provides the body with the nutrients it needs to build strong cells. A poor diet can lead to obesity, which can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Exercise is also essential because it lowers insulin levels in the body, keeping them from spiking after meals. This reduces cell growth.
Cigarette smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as non-smokers are. Quitting smoking immediately reduces the chances of potentially developing this type of cancer significantly.
Cancer can be treated in many ways, but the best way to treat it is to diagnose it early when it is still in its early stages. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to keep cancer from developing, including routine doctor visits, a healthy diet and exercise, and quitting smoking.