A primary mode of cancer prevention and early detection in the United States is the widespread screening practice. Although many early detection and prevention strategies are available, adverse outcomes, such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment, are prevalent among those utilising these approaches. Broad use of mammography and prostate cancer screening are key examples illustrating the potential harms stemming from the detection of indolent lesions and the subsequent overtreatment. Furthermore, there are several cancers for which prevention strategies do not currently exist.
Screening of Cancer
• Physical exam: Your doctor may physically examine your body for identification of any lumps in your body areas that may indicate a tumour. In the physical exam, the doctor may look for abnormalities, like changes in the colour of your skin or organ enlargement that indicates the presence of cancer.
• Laboratory tests: Laboratory tests, such as blood and urine tests, can also prove to be helpful for your doctor for easy identification of abnormalities that can be caused due to cancer. For example, in people with leukaemia, a common blood test called complete blood count is considered for an unusual number or type of white blood cells.
• Imaging tests: Imaging tests enable doctors to examine your bones and internal organs in a non-invasive manner. Imaging test devices used in the diagnosis of cancer may include a computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and X-ray, and positron emission tomography (PET) scan, among others.
• Biopsy. In a biopsy, your doctor will collect a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are various ways of collecting a sample. So which biopsy procedure is appropriate for you depends on the type of cancer and its location. In the majority of cases, a biopsy is the only way to a definite diagnosis of cancer.
Counselling helps people identified with cancer, manage and respond to their mixed emotions about life’s challenges. Counselling is not a full-proof way to solve problems, but it is a good place for people with cancer to talk about their concerns. Because the counsellors are people who have an outside view which is proven beneficial in patients. It is absolutely normal to feel stress while living with cancer. But it is always advisable to seek help when the distress is long-lasting. Seeking help is also important when your feelings bothered by your ability to cope with your daily life. Counselling can also be proven helpful even if your level of distress is not that severe. Living with cancer is definitely a huge challenge for everyone. So, even a few counselling sessions will likely prove helpful.
How counselling helps
Counselling may help you:
• Learn ways to cope with the diagnosis and feel less overwhelmed and also try to maintain control over you.
• Manage anxiety and depression.
• Try and manage cancer symptoms, treatment and also its side effects, such as pain and fatigue.
• Learn how to communicate more effectively with the health care team.
• Explore options and get feedback about important decisions.
• Consider workplace issues and strategies to manage them.
• Discuss your concerns about what comes after finishing treatment.
• Learn how to help your family understand and adjust to changes in routine.
• Explore concerns around intimacy and sexuality.
If one is interested in taking appropriate steps in cancer prevention, it is extremely crucial to understand that a few simple lifestyle changes can make a huge difference by considering these cancer-prevention tips.
Don’t use tobacco Consumption of tobacco in any form puts you at a risk of cancer. Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer — like cancer of the mouth, lung, throat, pancreas, larynx, bladder, kidney and cervix. Chewing tobacco can lead to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Even if you don’t smoke, exposure to smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer. So it is advised to avoid the consumption of tobacco as it is important to prevent cancer.
Eat a healthy diet
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: Emphasize on the consumption of fruits, vegetables and other foods from plant sources — such as whole grains and beans.
- Avoid obesity: Go easy on the food, eat lighter and choosing fewer high-calorie foods, also avoid including refined sugars and fats.
- Drink alcohol, only in moderation: The risk of various kinds of cancer including cancer of the breast, lung, colon, liver and kidney increases with the quantity of alcohol you drink and also with the duration you’ve been drinking regularly for.
Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active
Maintaining a healthy weight might also help lower the risk of various types of cancer, like cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, lung, and kidney. Physical activity is also important. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity lower the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.
Protect yourself from the sun
- Avoid midday sun: Avoid the sun’s rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as they are strongest in that duration.
- Stay in the shade. When you’re outside, stay in the shade as much as possible and wear sunglasses and a hat.
- Cover exposed areas. Wear loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible. Wear bright or dark colors, which reflect more ultraviolet radiation than pastels or bleached cotton.
- Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of a minimum of 30, even on cloudy days. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply after every two hours.
Avoid risky behaviours
- Practice safe sex. Limit your number of sexual partners and use a condom when you have sex. The more sexual partners you have in your lifetime, the more likely you are to contract a sexually transmitted infection — such as HIV or HPV. People who have HIV or AIDS have a higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung. HPV is most often associated with cervical cancer, but it might also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.
- Don’t share needles: It is always advised to avoid sharing of needles with people as it can increase your chances of HIV due to the use of intravenous drugs. It can also increase the risk of hepatitis B and hepatitis C — which can cause liver cancer.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is one of the causes of the development of liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for adults having a high risk — such as adults who are sexually active but are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, people who use intravenous drugs, men who have sex with men, people with sexually transmitted infections
Get regular medical care
Regular self-exams and screenings at regular intervals of times can prove beneficial for easy identification of cancer like cancer of the skin, colon, cervix, and breast.