Making Cancer History

Making Cancer History


It’s difficult to say why one person would get Cancer and another would not. Sometimes it may seem that Cancer cannot be avoided but there are things that one can do to reduce the risk of this most painful and sometimes fatal disease. You can start by living a healthy lifestyle and taking charge of your health. If Cancer can’t be prevented, treatment is more likely to be successful if it’s found early.

Early detection is finding cancer at an early state and is often easier to treat. Recognising symptoms and getting regular checkups help detect cancer early. Be aware of your body and don’t ignore changes, as the sooner a report is made to your doctor, the sooner a problem can be dealt with.

Screening is the early detection of cancer by testing or checking for disease when one has no symptoms. Some cancers can be discovered this way and can be treated early.

It’s important to note that no screening test for cancer is 100% accurate. For example a screening test can show signs of cancer when there is none, or not show cancer when there is.

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer starts in the cells of the breast tissue. and covers an area larger than just the breast. It extends up to the colar bone and from the armpit across to the breastbone in the centre of the chest. It can also be found in men but is very rare. Breast Cancer can happen at any age, but most cases occur in women over the age of 50. It can be found and successfully treated if detected early.

A Mammography, a low-dose x-ray of the breasts, can be used to test for breast cancer.
Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) a physical examination of the breast by a trained professional.
Some women have a higher risk for breast cancer and should consider testing regularly if, you had breast cancer before; you have a history of breast biopsies; you have a family history of breast cancer.

You can also be more aware of how your breasts normally look and feel so that changes can be readily recognised. bear in mind that the breast feel different during the menstrual cycle.

Signs to look for are a lump or swelling in the armpit: Changes in size and shape of breast:

Dimpling or puckering of the skin(orange peel skin): Redness, swelling and increased warmth in the infected breast: Inverted nipple, nipple turns inward:Crusting or scaling on the nipple.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer starts in the cells of the cervix and grows very slowly. The cells of the cervix start to change and become abnormal. These abnormal cells are precancerous, meaning that they are not cancer. Precancerous changes to the cervix are called cervical dysplasia. Cervical cancer and cervical dysplasiain the early stages often do not cause any symptoms. Having regular tests can detect both and they can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.

Having multiple sexual partners , or becoming sexually active at an early age can put you at greater risk for developing cervical cancer. These factors increase your risk of being exposed to HPV. HPV is a group of viruses that can be passed easily from person to person through sexual contact. HPV infections are common and usually go away without treatment because the immune systemgets rid of the virus. Certain types of HPV virus can cause changes to cells in the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer tests are, Pap Test which is a laboratory examination of cells taken from the cervix to detect changes. It can detect changes early before cancer develops.

A Pelvic Examination is a physical examination of the organs within the pelvis through the vagina.

These tests should be taken every 1 to 3 years. once you become sexually active. Even if you have stopped having sex, continue to have the tests.

Signs to Look for are abnormal bleeding or bloodstained discharge from the vagina between periods; unusually long or heavy periods; bleeding after sexual intercourse; watery discharge from the vagina; increased discharge from the vagina; bleeding from the vagina after menopause.

Colorectal Cancer

Most colorectal cancers start in the cells that line the inside of the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancer often grows slowly and in a predictable way. . It may not cause any symptoms in its early stages as the abdomen has lots of room for the cancer to grow and develop. Screening tests often can detect the cancer before symptoms develop , and it can be successfully treated if diagnosed early.

Colorectal Cancer Tests can be the following ways. If you are 50 years or older , have a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every 2 years.

Colonoscopy is a test that lets the doctor look at the lining of the entire colon, using a thin flexible tube with a light and camera at the end.

Sigmoidoscopy is a test that lets the doctor look at the lining of the rectum and lower part of the colon, using a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end.

Double Contrast Barium Enema is an x-ray of the colon and rectum, that uses a special dye called barium, that helps the doctor see the lining of the colon more clearly.

A person is at higher risk if a family member has the disease, has a personal history of colorectal cancer, is diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or polyps or inherited condition of colon cancer.

Signs to look for aregeneral discomfort in the abdomen(bloating , fullness, cramps);change in bowel habits eg. Diarrhea or constipation; blood in the stools; narrower than usual stools; urgent need to have a bowel movement; feeling that the bowels have not been completely emptied;nausea and vomiting;fatigue; weight loss.

Skin cancer

The different kinds of skin cancer begin in different kinds of cells in the skin. (Basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma cell).

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your self from the sun. Protect skin from the sun especially between 11a. m. and 4p. m. , or when the UV index is 3 or higher. Stay in the shade or indoors, out of the sun during these times. Cover your skin if you have to be exposed to the rays of the sun, and wear a hat. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Wearing sunglasses can prevent damage to the eyes. Avoid using indoor tanning equipment. Check skin regularly.

Signs to Look for are changes in shape colour and size of birthmarks and moles; sores that don’t heal; patches of skin that bleed itch, or become red and bumpy.

Reducing the Risk of Cancer

You can reduce the risk of cancer by making healthy choices every day. At least half of all cancers can be prevented.

Take the necessary steps to become a non smoker and avoid second hand smoke. Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Choose high fibre and lower fat foods. Be physically active.

Maintain a healthy body weight. Take a good supplement everyday that also supplies oxygen to the cells. Protect yourself and family from the sun. Follow cancer screening guidlines. Examine yourself regularly and see a doctor if there is a change in your state of health. Be careful how you store hazardous material.

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