Monday, June 15, 2015


What is early detection or screening for cancer? Early detection means to diagnose cancer in its presymptomatic stage, ie before the person manifest any symptoms related to the disease or exhibits a change to the physical examination performed by a professional health care. Cancer, like other diseases, have a natural history that is characterized by a spectrum that has at its inception some malignant cells - which in still unclear reasons are not destroyed by the natural protective system of the body - and goes up to the stage the disease is clinically diagnosable through its signs and symptoms.

Early Cancer detection characteristics
The examinations and laboratory and imaging tests used in the early detection of a particular type of cancer, do not make the diagnosis of this cancer, but select people suspected of having this cancer so that more specific tests are carried out and be confirmed or rejected such suspicion. Generally, the confirmatory test is a biopsy or examination of a particular tissue of the body (pathological).

For a test to be considered a "screening", ie to be considered suitable to be performed on a person who does not show signs and symptoms of the disease, it must:

Having the ability to diagnose cancer before a person develops symptoms
Offer little risk or discomfort to the person
Having an affordable cost

Moreover, to develop screening methods for a given type of cancer, it is necessary:

There is sufficient scientific evidence that, if the cancer is diagnosed early there will be an available medical treatment that improves disease progression

Such treatment is not worse than the disease itself. This means that it is no use the test is good, bit uncomfortable and cheap but do not have a treatment available to change the natural history of the disease. Also no use having treatments that may be established in the preclinical phase of the disease (stage of disease that still can not make the diagnosis by signs and symptoms that the disease causes), that there are no tests to diagnose this cancer in this pre -Clinic.

In addition to these features described above (having the ability to diagnose cancer earlier and having this cancer treatments available to alter the natural history), early detection should be performed only in those cancers that are diagnosed early and effective treatment instituted early, may modify the cost affective, personal and financial related to diagnosis and treatment and / or decrease the mortality associated with this cancer. Ie no use to early diagnosis and treat cancer in its preclinical phase, this will not change the mortality and / or suffering of the person. Because in that case, what is being done is simply make a person healthy and asymptomatic for a sick person with all the personal and financial costs related to diagnosis and treatment of a disease like this.

Many types of cancers and various diagnostic tests have these characteristics:

Diagnose cancer before developing signs and symptoms
Having an effective treatment against this type of cancer

What kind of tests to detect early cancer?
The easiest way to test this is by visual observation of suspicious lesions, followed by palpation. Procedures are easy, low cost and with a minimum of discomfort.

The inspection (or visual examination) of texture and color changes of the skin, oral mucosa, retina and cervix is ​​an example of how to seek changes suggestive of a premalignant lesion.

The palpation is also particularly useful, easy to make and cheap to detect early breast lumps, enlarged prostate or altered lymph nodes.

Other types of tests are done to detect early. Tests are image as X-ray, ultrasound or laboratory tests such as tests of blood and urine.

What types of cancers can be diagnosed early?
Examples of cancers in which you can be held early detection and be effectively treated:

breast cancer
cervical cancer
colon cancer

To decrease your chances of developing cancer, follow these tips:

Consult with your doctor regularly
Make the screening tests cancer he recommend, as often as is most appropriate for your specific case.
Do not smoke
Do not drink too much alcohol drinks
Eat fruits and vegetables every day
Take plenty of water
Exercises regularly as medically indicated
Avoid the sun between 10 am and 16 hours
Women: breast feed their children
To Prevent sexually transmitted diseases by barrier methods (condoms)
Practice a religious faith or other form of spiritualization
Be happy!

Questions you can ask your doctor
A disease discovered in its preclinical phase may regress?
Is there any genetic test that says if I ever will have cancer?

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