Early Detection of Cancer


Early detection means to diagnose cancer in its pre-symptomatic stage, ie before the person manifests any symptoms related to disease or submit any changes to the physical examination by a health professional.

Cancer, like other diseases, has a natural history characterized by a spectrum that has its beginning in some malignant cells - which for unclear reasons are not destroyed by the system of the body's natural protection - and goes up to the stage the disease is clinically diagnosable through its signs and symptoms.

The examinations and laboratory tests and imaging used for early detection of a particular type of cancer, do not make the diagnosis of cancer, but rather select people suspected of having this cancer so that more specific tests are undertaken and is confirmed or ruled out the suspicion. Generally, the confirmatory test is a biopsy or examination of a particular body tissue (pathological).

For a test to be considered a "screening", ie, to be considered suitable to be carried in a person who shows signs and symptoms of the disease, it must:

Having the ability to diagnose the cancer before a person develops symptoms
Offer little risk or discomfort to the person
Having an affordable
On the other hand, to develop early detection methods for a particular type of cancer, you must:

There is enough scientific evidence that if this cancer is diagnosed early there is a medical treatment that improves the prognosis of the disease

That this treatment is not worse than the disease itself
This means that the test is not good good and cheap little uncomfortable but not a treatment available to change the natural history of disease. Also not enough to have treatments that may be instituted in the preclinical phase of disease (stage of the disease that still can not make the diagnosis by signs and symptoms that causes the disease), there are no tests to diagnose this cancer in the pre -clinic.

In addition to these features described above (having the ability to diagnose cancer earlier and this cancer have treatments available to alter the natural history), early detection should be performed only in those cancers that are diagnosed early and effective treatment instituted early, may modify the cost affective, personal and financial information relating to diagnosis and treatment and / or decrease the mortality associated with this type of cancer. That is, no point in making early diagnosis and treat cancer in its preclinical phase, if it will not change the mortality and / or the person's suffering. Because if so, what is being done is simply make a person healthy and asymptomatic in a sick person with all personal and financial costs related to diagnosis and treatment of a disease like this.

Many cancers and various diagnostic tests have these characteristics:

Diagnose cancer before developing signs and symptoms
Having an effective treatment for this type of cancer

What type of tests are done to detect early cancer?

The easiest way to test this is by visual observation of suspicious lesions, followed by palpation. Procedures are easy, low cost and with minimal discomfort.

The inspection (or visual examination) of changes in texture and color of the skin, oral mucosa, retina and the cervix is ​​an example of how to seek changes suggestive of a premalignant lesion.

Palpation is also particularly useful, easy to make and cheap to detect early breast lumps, enlarged prostate or lymph nodes changed.
Other types of tests are done to detect early. They are screening tests such as X-rays, scans or laboratory tests such as blood and urine tests.
WHAT types of cancer can be diagnosed early?
Examples of cancers in which you can be held early detection and be treated effectively:

breast cancer
cancer of the cervix
colon cancer.

Consult with your doctor regularly
Make tests for early detection of cancer he recommends, with the frequency that is most suitable for your specific case.

Do not smoke
Do not drink too much alcohol
Eat fruits and vegetables daily
Take plenty of water
Exercise regularly as directed by medical
Avoid the sun between 10 am and 16 hours
Women: breast-feed their children
Prevent sexually transmitted diseases using barrier methods (condoms)
Practice a religious faith or another form of spirituality
Be happy!

Questions you can ask your doctor
A disease discovered in its preclinical phase may regress?
Is there a genetic test that tells if someday I'll have cancer?
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