vitamins and minerals

Preventive Cancer Care

Millions of people around the world die from cancer every year. However, it is not an incurable disease. Cancer, if caught early, can be successfully treated, that too at a fraction of the cost of aggressive treatment methods. One way to catch cancer early is to get regular screening tests. Most forms of screening can detect cancer before patients even notice symptoms. Getting regular screening tests can help detect breast, colon, cervix and lung cancers. People over the age of 20 should undergo periodic checkups for cancer of the oral cavity, skin, thyroid, ovaries, and lymph nodes.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer usually presents with symptoms such as a lump in the breast, change in the shape of the breasts, dimpling on the skin, or swollen lymph nodes. A mammogram can detect breast lumps even before they are felt. Additionally, mammograms can also detect ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which can become invasive cancer in some women. It is recommended that women over 40 have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women under 40 who have a risk factor for breast cancer should see their health care provider periodically.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer occurs when there is abnormal growth of cells in the cervix. The most common cause of cervical cancer is due to the presence of the HPV virus. Opting for frequent HPV testing can detect the HPV virus at an early stage. It is generally recommended that girls and women between the ages of 11 and 26 get the HPV vaccine. Along with the HPV test, the PVP test can also detect abnormal cells that may become cancerous. Health professionals generally recommend that women over 30 get HPV and PVP testing every 3 years.

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer usually develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Precancerous polyps can be detected with screening tests. If such polyps are found, they can be surgically removed before they become cancerous. Doctors often recommend starting screening once a person turns 50. Additionally, FOBT test, stool DNA test, sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, and standard colonoscopy are other accepted screening tests for colorectal cancer.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Indian men. People who smoke have a greater risk of developing lung cancer, although it can also occur in people who have never smoked. People who smoke heavily (1 pack a day) or who smoke now or who have quit smoking within the last 15 years are at a higher risk of getting lung cancer. Currently, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is the only recommended screening test for lung cancer. Doctors recommend that people who are at higher risk of getting lung cancer and who are between the ages of 55 and 80 get annual lung cancer screening.

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