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World Cancer Day: Importance of early diagnosis & detection of cancer

  • February 09, 2022
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Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. Every year on February 4, World Cancer Day is observed to raise awareness and spread hope for courageous patients.

Current Scenario

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted several critical health services, including early cancer detection services. Since the crisis, several critical health issues especially timely screenings.

According to a recent Lancet report, there has been an increase in advanced cases of cancer in the last two years as a result of missed routine check-ups and screenings. The decline in preventive healthcare and cancer screenings can harm progress toward timely cancer diagnosis and treatment.

 

Diagnosis is the key

Early cancer diagnosis focuses on detecting symptomatic patients as soon as possible so that they can receive the best possible treatment. When cancer care is delayed or inaccessible, there is a lower chance of survival, more problems with treatment, and higher healthcare costs. By providing care at the earliest possible stage, early diagnosis improves cancer outcomes and is thus an important public health strategy in all settings. To diagnose and stage cancer, diagnostic tests such as lab tests, biopsies, and diagnostic imaging are used.

Various medical studies have shown that an early cancer diagnosis can save up to 90% of lives. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the total cancer burden among them. Because of a lack of awareness and inadequate participation in the mandatory diagnosis, one out of every twenty women is diagnosed with this cancer. If cancer is not treated promptly, it can spread to other parts of the body, making treatment more difficult and taking longer than expected.

 

Early screening

Screening tests aim to prevent or detect cancer early. Screening is not the same as early diagnosis. Screening tests are intended to prevent or detect cancer at an early stage. They do not make cancer diagnoses. They detect abnormalities or precancerous cells, which can then be investigated further with diagnostic testing.

Common Cancer Screenings and Prevention

Colonoscopies and other cancer-prevention tests

Mammograms are used to screen for breast cancer.

Preventing cervical cancer with Pap smears and HPV testing

PSA tests are used to detect prostate cancer.

Melanoma screenings for skin cancer.

 

A timely cancer diagnosis is critical for appropriate and effective treatment because each cancer type necessitates a unique treatment regimen. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and/or surgery are commonly used in treatment. The primary goal is to cure cancer or significantly prolong life. Improving the patient's quality of life is also an important goal. This can be accomplished by providing support for the patient's physical, psychosocial, and spiritual well-being, as well as palliative care in the terminal stages of cancer.

Cancer screening is the process of looking for early signs of certain types of cancer in people who do not have any symptoms. If you have any health concerns or are experiencing any concerning symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.