Throughout history, cancer has been a significant contributor to global mortality and affects millions worldwide. But with early cancer screening , it can be treated and lives can be saved.
Hence, the creation and significance of world cancer day. A day dedicated to raising awareness about cancer and its impact on individuals, families, and communities.
Annually observed on February 4th, world cancer day aims to address the disease and the fear it evokes. It promotes early cancer screening and preventive lifestyle habits while dismantling myths about the deadly disease.
The Importance of routine screening
Regardless of age or health status, routine cancer check-ups are essential for all individuals. They help detect cancer before symptoms appear and reduce the risk of serious health complications and death.
Because no single test can accurately diagnose cancer, the diagnosis of cancer is often a complex and multi-step process involving several tests and evaluations.
Depending on the type of cancer a doctor suspects, here are some tests used to diagnose cancer:
- Physical Exam: A doctor may perform a physical exam and ask about personal and family medical history to look for any signs or symptoms of cancer.
- Imaging Tests: Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI, and PET scans, can help detect cancers and determine the size and location of tumours.
- Biopsy: A biopsy involves removing a tissue sample for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. There are various types of biopsy procedures, including a fine needle biopsy, a core biopsy, and an excisional biopsy.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests can measure the levels of certain substances in the blood that can indicate the presence of cancer, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer or tumour markers for other types of cancer.
- Stool Tests: Stool tests can detect the presence of blood in the stool, which can be a sign of colon or rectal cancer.
- Urine Tests: Urine tests can detect the presence of certain substances that can indicate the presence of bladder or kidney cancer.
In addition to the benefits of early cancer screening already mentioned above, it is also essential to note its usefulness in preventing cancer from reoccurring. Screening can detect cancer that has returned, even if there are no symptoms, allowing for further treatment.
It can also help determine if treatment is working and whether or not it needs to be changed.
Other prevention methods
Aside from routine screenings, individuals can carry out the following to reduce their risk of developing cancer:
- Embrace healthy lifestyle choices. E.g., regular physical activity, zero smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Avoid exposure to known cancer-causing agents, such as the sun and radiation.
- Get Vaccinated: Certain vaccines, such as the HPV vaccine, can help protect against certain types of cancer.
In conclusion, early screening is essential to cancer prevention and treatment. And if you haven’t carried out any cancer screening or comprehensive health checks in a while, make sure to book yourself one this world cancer day.
Till our next health blog,