Early Cancer Detection is the Key to Successful Treatment
Cancer Diagnoses Explained
With the division and expansion of cancer cells come adverse symptoms, which can vary depending on the types of mutations the cells have undergone, their location in the body, and the rates at which they are multiplying.
When cancer is suspected, a physician may take a closer look through X Rays, endoscopies, or blood testing. However, cancer can only be diagnosed with certainty by a medical professional after suspected cancer cells are biopsied and examined in a laboratory.
Defining “Successful Treatment”
- Stage 0: (recognized by some medical professionals as pre-cancer, rather than cancer) the cancer is small and completely contained to the area in which it started
- Stage I: the cancer is contained to a small, specific area and hasn’t spread to other tissues or lymph nodes
- Stage II: the cancer has grown, but it has not spread to other parts of the body
- Stage III: the cancer has grown and has started to spread to other tissues and potentially the lymph nodes
- Stage IV: (other known as metastatic cancer) the cancer has spread throughout the body
Medical professionals agree that the earlier a cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better.
Why an Early Diagnosis Matters
Patient survival odds are increasingly higher in Stage 0 or Stage I, but so is the likelihood that the patient will be able to maintain a favorable quality of life during and immediately after treatment. Cancer treatment for advanced stages is notoriously difficult, severely impacting a patient’s physical well-being, mental health, and quality of life. On top of that, the more advanced the stage, the trickier it can be to safely secure a complete recovery for the patient.
Early detection affords both the patient and their physician one of the most valuable things they can have: options. Patients and their loved ones can often decide between surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, other treatments, or a combination of these in order to target their cancer when it is caught early. They can also benefit from lower recovery times, little to no chemical treatment, and long-term preventive care.
Improve Your Chances of Early Diagnoses
One of the best things you can do in order to catch cancer (and any other potential illnesses) early is to make sure you work with a trusted primary care physician who knows your history and be sure to get your annual exams.
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