Cancer is a disease that reminds me of my friend Amina. Amina was a vibrant young lady, she could have survived if only she was able to detect it early. It has no respect for age. As an individual it’s important to pay attention to any changes in your body. Below are ways to detect cancer early:
CHECK FOR CHANGES IN YOUR SKIN
Skin cancers can cause your skin to change color, making it darker, more yellow, or more red. If your skin changes color, make an appointment with your dermatologist. You may also notice more hair growing or itchy skin. If you have moles, you should watch for any changes in their appearance. Another symptom of cancer is an unusual lump or body area that thickens.also, you should observe any sore that doesn’t heal or white patches in your mouth or on your tongue.
MONITOR BLADDER OR BOWEL CHANGES
If you have constipation that doesn’t seem to go away, diarrhea, or any change in the size of your stool, they may indicate colon cancer. Signs of bladder or prostate cancer can include: painful urination, unusual bleeding or discharge and need to urinate, either more or less.
CHECK IF YOU’VE LOST WEIGHT
If you’ve lost weight, but haven’t been dieting, you have unexplained weight loss. Losing more than 10 pounds is an early sign of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung. Also, if you have difficulty swallowing or experiencing indigestion after meal. These are symptoms of stomach, throat or esophageal.
ENGAGE IN BREAST CANCER SCREENING
Mammograms are x-rays of the breast that screen for lumps. If you’re between the ages of 40 and 44, you can choose if you want to get mammograms every year. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should get mammograms every year, according to the American Cancer Society. If you’re over 55, you can continue yearly screening or get them every two years. It is advisable to do monthly breast self-examination (BSE)
WATCH OUT FOR SYMPTOMS OF COMMON ILLNESS
Some of the earliest symptoms of cancer might seem like symptoms of the common cold, with slight key differences. You may notice cough, fatigue, fever or unexplained pain (like severe headache). Unlike common illnesses, you won’t feel better after resting, the cough won’t go away, and you may not have any sign of infection despite having a fever. Pain might be one of the earliest symptoms of cancer you experience. Fever is usually a symptom once the cancer has progressed.
DO A ‘CT’ SCAN TO DIAGNOSE LUNG CANCER
If you’re between the ages of 55 and 74 and smoke heavily or have a history of smoking heavily, you should have CT scans to look for lung cancer. To decide if you are or were a heavy smoker, determine if you’re still smoking and have a 30 “pack-year” history.
TEST FOR COLON OR RECTAL CANCER AND POLYPS
At 50 years old, everyone should be regularly tested. Ask your doctor if you can be screened for cancer and polyps. This screening means getting tested every five years (like a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a double-contrast barium enema, or a virtual colonoscopy) or 10 years (if getting a colonoscopy). You should have blood test every year (guaiac-based fecal occult blood test) or a fecal immunochemical test (FIT). You could also do a stool DNA test every three years.
GET PAP TESTS FOR CERVICAL CANCER
Pap tests are important to diagnose cervical cancer, even if you’ve been vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). A woman between the ages of 21 and 29, should get a Pap test every three years and only get HPV testing if you get an abnormal Pap test result. If you’re between 30 and 65, get a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) every five years. If you don’t want to screen for HPV, you can just get a Pap test every three years.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT SCREENING FOR OTHER CANCERS
Since several types of cancers have no definite guidelines, you should discuss your risk factors with your doctor. Your doctor may recommend whether or not you need to be screened. For oral cancers, you should ask your dentist for screening recommendations. In general, ask your doctor if you should be screened for: Prostate, Endometrial (uterine), Thyroid, Lymphoma,Testicular Cancer
TEST FOR GENETIC RISK