Health Corner

Guidelines for early detection of cancer

Dr. Umm Saarib Attariyyah

Cancer is an illness that causes the cells of the body to grow and spread in an uncontrolled way. There are approximately over 200 types of cancer, and the cause for each is different. There are some types that spread very quickly throughout the entire body via the bloodstream.

1.   Breast cancer

Women between the ages of 40 and 44 should begin screening with mammography (x-ray of the chest).  Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should go for a mammogram every year. Women aged 55+ should get a mammogram every 2 years. Some women, because of their family history, genetic predisposition or because of other factors, should get an MRI scan along with the mammogram (the number of women that fall in this category are very few). Aside from this, you should talk to your lady doctor about the best screening plan for you. Moreover, you should inspect yourself too and inform your doctor immediately if you notice any changes.

2.   Colon cancer and rectal polyps

This is the name of the cancer of the large intestine. Men and women over the age of 50 should use the following plan to get tested. One should have a sigmoidoscopy once every five years, or have a colonoscopy done every 10 years and an occult blood test of stool. Every year, or every three years, you should have a stool DNA test. If because of your family history or other factors you are at greater risk of being affected by colon cancer, then speak to your doctor about setting up a schedule for having additional tests such as barium enema and CT colonoscopy.

3.   Cervical cancer

Women over the age of 21 can begin testing themselves for symptoms. Women aged between 21 and 29 should perform the pap smear test every 3 years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should perform this test as well as an HPV test every 5 years. Women aged 65+ who have been constantly tested should no longer be tested.

4.   Endometrial carcinoma

It is usually older women who are diagnosed with this cancer when specific symptoms become apparent. Therefore, refer to your lady doctor regarding your family history and any signs relating to this cancer.

5.   Lung cancer

Smoking cigarettes increases the chances of having this cancer. Someone who has been smoking a pack of cigarettes daily for 30 years is screened annually by a low-dose CT scan.

6.   Prostate cancer

Once men reach the age of 50, they should speak to their medical provider about the benefits and drawbacks of testing to decide whether testing is the correct plan of action. If your brother or father had prostate cancer before the age of 65, then make sure to mention this to your doctor when you are 45 years of age.

After carrying out the test, the results will determine whether you need to be tested again or not. Aside from this, one should inspect for signs of thyroid cancer, oral cavity cancer, lymph nodes and vaginal cancer alongside having other tests.

To protect yourself from the deadly illness of cancer

1.   Stay away from all types of tobacco. Besides cigarettes, this includes other forms of chewable tobacco.

2.   Maintain a healthy weight, exercise, eat healthy food, and avoid eating greasy and salty foods.

3.   Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.

4.   Make a habit of walking.

5.   Familiarise yourself with your family history, and look out for symptoms and know of the dangers associated with them.

6.   Go for regular inspections and take screening tests for cancer.




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