Submitted by Wendy Chirieleison, MS Ed
Community Health Educator
Early Detection Is Key To Minimizing Effects Of Cancer
There are more than 100 types of cancer that can develop throughout the body, which grow at different rates and respond to different treatments. But, they all have one thing in common. All cancers start due to a rapid growth of abnormal cells. Cancer that is untreated can cause serious illness or even death.
Knowing the signs and symptoms, and getting screened regularly is essential to the early detection of cancer. This is important because treatments work best on cancer when it is detected early, and it helps prevent the spreading of cancer to other areas of the body. Additionally, there are specific things that you can do to help you prevent cancer.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms are signals that the body is going through something like an injury, illness, or disease. Signs are signals that can be seen such as a fever, fast breathing, or a rash. A symptom is a signal that can only be felt by the person who has it such as a loss of appetite, fatigue, or achiness.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are five general signs and symptoms of cancer. Having one or more of these warning signs does not mean that you have caner, but you should definitely speak with your doctor about any concerns that you have, or if you are experiencing any of the following – an unexplained weight loss of ten pounds or more, a fever, fatigue (or extreme tiredness that does not get better with rest), changes in skin texture (color or sensation), and lastly – pain can be a symptom of certain types of cancer.
In addition to these general signs and symptoms of cancer, there are other common signs and symptoms that are associated with certain types of cancer. They are a change in bowel habits or bladder function, sores that do not heal, white spots in the mouth or on the tongue, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening of the skin or lump, indigestion or trouble swallowing, any new skin changes (including a new or changed mole or wart), a nagging cough or hoarseness. Remember that having one or more of these symptoms does not mean that you definitely have cancer. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms.
GET SCREENED REGULARLY
Early detection offers the best results in treating and minimizing the spread of cancer. There are many types of tests and procedures for men and women that are recommended throughout each stage of life that can detect different types of cancers. Talk to your doctor to learn which tests and procedures are the best for you.
Some of the test preps, and tests themselves, may be difficult but – are much better than their alternative. If you are squeamish or nervous about testing, ask your spouse (or a relative or friend) to go with you, ask if you are able to bring relaxing music to listen to, use visualization or deep breathing (or other stress reducing strategies), or bring something with you to focus on that will distract you.
HELP PREVENT CANCER
- Do not use tobacco products…if you need help quitting, call the NYS Smokers Quitline at 1-866-697-8487.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep moving with regular physical activity.
- Eat healthy by including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.
- Wear sunscreen every day…use a facial moisturizer that contains SPF.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, or long sleeves and re-apply sunscreen during prolonged time outdoors.
- Know your family’s medical history and share this information with your health care provider.
For more information, visit cancer.org, contact your healthcare provider or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at email@example.com, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.