Almost everyone is familiar with the disease cancer, we may call it by various regional language names, but the fear and deaths associated with this disease is palpable at every section of society. When our own body cells grow and spread at an abnormal and uncontrolled rate it is called Cancer. Both external and internal factors may cause cancer to develop in body.

Cancer is one of the leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is a rapidly emerging deadly disease which causes enormous suffering and pain, not only to the patient but also to his or her family. But timely diagnose can prevent this cruel disease to destroy our health and happiness, hence it is very important to undergo routine screening. So, this world cancer day let’s explore why regular screening is the need of the hour?

Cancer in figures

Only in United States, around 1.8 million people are diagnosed with this destructive disease annually. Breast cancer in most diagnosed cancer among women while in men prostate cancer is increasing at a lethal rate. Lung cancer has result in maximum number of cancer related deaths followed by colorectal and pancreatic cancer. Did you know more men die of cancer than women?

What is screening

Getting your body routinely checked in absence of symptoms is called as screening. In screening for cancer, tests and physical exams are designed in a manner to detect occult cancer even before symptoms are appearing.

Why is screening so important

  1. Cancer is not direct result of any infection. Our own body cells behave abnormally and grow at very unrestrained manner. This accumulation of cells called as tumor, can be benign (harmless) or malignant. For symptoms to appear it takes time. By the time you have symptom, cancer usually gets at an advanced stage in most of cases.
  2. Screening detects this growth even before symptoms appear. Screening makes cancer to be diagnosed when it is still treatable.
  3. The ultimate objective of screening is to reduce number of cancer deaths and cancer sufferings.
  4. One of the important benefits of screening is prevention of cancer due to awareness.
  5. Screening detects very slow growing tumors which grows silently without causing any trouble to patient.
  6. Screening provides immense mental relief when negative and decreases your stress.
  7. Early detection prevents spread to other body parts and can be treated with better recovery rate.
  8. When detected early, it saves both money and time taken for treatment.
  9. In simple words,early detection of cancers equals to better survival rate.

Types of screening

  • Clinical examination: This is focused on physical exams like checking for lumps, lymph nodes, any growths, breast exams, skin check (for skin cancers) etc.
  • Mammography: This is done to detect breast cancerand is a X Ray based test.
  • Blood test: Certain cancer blood markers are checked in blood to detect cancer followed by advanced tests, if required. This is also not a routine but done in high risk cases. Also, simple Blood counts can detect any abnormality like increased white blood cell counts or change in Red blood cells morphology; which can detect certain blood cancers in assistance with advanced and specific tests.Prostate Specific antigen is checked in blood to detect prostate cancers. However, this is not a specific test and needs further investigating.
  • PAP test: This test is used as screening tool to detect any presence of pre- cancerous or cancerous cells in cervix of female. This can prevent many cervical cancers. Also strain of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can be detected from samples of vagina or cervix. This virus is associated with increased risk of cervical cancer.
  • Scopy: Various scopies like colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies where flexible & lubricated tubes are inserted in rectum to detect colo-rectal cancers are also used.
  • Stool and urine test: Simple laboratory tests may not detect cancers but can tell a lot about your general health. Any deviation from normal figures may lead to further probe and may prevent many diseases including cancers from becoming advanced.
  • DNA tests: This is not a routine. Being a time consuming and expensive tests these are restricted for people with strong family history of cancers.
  • X Rays: Simple X Rays can sometimes detect any growths like lung cancer etc.
  • Rectal exam: Prostate cancer is a leading cancer is men and it can be detected at early screening tests by rectal exam where doctors uses his gloved fingers to check prostate gland for any surface irregularities.
  • Specific tests: Highly advanced screening, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomographic scan (CT scan) are done as per requirement of individual case. They are not done on routine basis but can be done in high risk cases only. fenbendazole for cancer