Early cancer detection can improve the chances of treatment of cancer. According to WHO, early cancer detection can be made possible by two ways that include awareness to promote early diagnosis and screening.
Early Cancer Diagnosis:
Early cancer diagnosis requires recognition of risk factors, exposure rate, and prompt action against the warning signs of cancer. The first step should be educating health care professionals like nurses, physicians, and other health care workers about the benefits of early cancer detection.
Health care professionals may prove the most effective sources that may spread awareness about early cancer detection in the general public. Early signs and symptoms include non-healing ulcers, abnormal bleeding, chronic hoarseness, lumps, and indigestion. Early diagnosis is chiefly appropriate for cancers of the larynx, rectum, mouth, breast, skin, cervix, and rectum.
Screening tests are used to identify the high-risk patients or those patients who have the disease but do not show any symptoms. Screening is usually done for cancers such as breast cancer (using mammography) and cervical cancer (using Pap smears or other cytology methods). Screening tests have high therapeutic benefits at the community level, but they should be carried out after the following criteria are fulfilled.
- Enough skilled persons and equipment are available that can carry out screening of high risk or target population.
- Precise and accurate tests are available for the confirmation of the diagnosis in people with false results.
- Treatment options and follow up facilities are accessible for diagnosed cancer patients.
- The prevalence of certain types of cancer is high enough to defend the cost and efforts of screening.
Types of Cancer:
The main types of cancer depending upon the nature of tissue from which they originate include carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, and lymphoma.
Carcinoma is the most common type of cancer. It originates from the skin and epithelial lining of different organs such as the kidney and liver. Cancer that remains in the organ from which it originates is called carcinoma in situ. Other more aggressive forms are called invasive carcinoma and metastatic carcinoma.
Different types of carcinomas can occur in various body parts that include Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Renal cell carcinoma, Ductal carcinoma in situ, and Invasive ductal carcinoma.
Sarcoma is another form of cancer that mostly develops in soft tissues and bones. Soft tissue sarcoma can occur in different body parts such as lymph or blood vessels (Angiosarcoma), neuromuscular cells of the gastrointestinal tract (Gastrointestinal stromal tumor), fat tissue present at the back of abdomen or knee and in the thigh (Liposarcoma), and smooth muscles of the abdomen (Leiomyosarcoma).
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that originates from the melanocytes that are pigment-producing cells. It typically arises in the skin but also occurs in the intestines, eye, and mouth. It is a very aggressive tumor and destroys the nearby tissue. It has given the name malignant melanoma because of high metastatic potential. It has four main types, such as Superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, Lentigo malignant melanoma, and Acral lentiginous melanoma.
Lymphomas are blood cancers that affect lymphocytes. Due to affected lymphocytes, the whole lymphatic system gets involved that includes lymph nodes, thymus, bone marrow, and spleen. Lymphoma can affect all areas and organs throughout the body. It has two types Hodgkins lymphoma and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Most common types of cancer affecting different organs include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Renal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Hepatic cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
Methods of Cancer Diagnostics:
The following methods of diagnosis are available for cancer.
- Physical examination to determine lumps, skin color changes, and increase in the size of an organ.
- Laboratory tests usually include urine tests and complete blood tests.
- Imaging techniques are also diagnostics for cancer that include computerized tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scan, PET scan, X-ray, and ultrasound.
- A biopsy is usually required to confirm the suspected diagnosis, which includes the collection of a small piece of tissue from an organ to check dysplasia, metaplasia, or other changes of cells.
The following therapies are can cure cancer patients.
- Surgical therapy includes the removal of tumors or cancer cell masses from the body.
- Radiation therapy involves the use of high doses of radiations to destroy or shrink cancer cells or tumors.
- Chemotherapy uses cancer drugs to destroy cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy strengthens your immune system to fight against cancer.
- Targeted therapy induces changes in cancer cells that inhibit growth, division, and spread of cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy inhibits the growth of cancer cells like breast and prostate cancer cells that require hormones for their growth.
- Stem cell therapy includes the restoration of blood-forming stem cells in cancer patients that are destroyed due to radiation or chemotherapy.
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Blackadar C. B. (2016). Historical review of the causes of cancer. World journal of clinical oncology, 7(1), 54–86. https://www.wjgnet.com/2218-4333/full/v7/i1/54.htm