In this day and age, there are few diseases as frightening as cancer. Whether it’s skin cancer, breast cancer or any other type, the big “C” word sends us all in a panic the very second that we hear it. While some cancers are harder to detect than others, we’ve got the lowdown on the 6 best and newest ways to spot cancer.
Know your body: According to Cancer Research UK, the best way to detect cancer is to know your own body, in an effort to recognize any changes. The site suggests that women complete regular (about once a month), and thorough exams of their entire bodies, including skin, eyes, mouth and breasts. Here is a list of some of the main issues of concern:
- Unsual lumps or swelling anywhere on the body
- A change in size, shape or color of any mole
- Sores that do not heal comepletly after a few weeks
- Mouth or tongue ulcer lasting longer than three weeks
- A cough that persists longer than three weeks
- Difficulty swallowing or indigestion
- Issues with bladder or bowels
- Unexplained weight loss or night sweats
- Coughing up blood
Make yearly appointments with your doctor: Regardless of how well you check out your own body, you definitely need a backup exam at least once a year. Regular checkups should be conducted by your gynecologist, dermatologist, dentist, eye doctor and general practitioner. During these visits, physicians should be doing physical exams, blood work, urine tests as well as general tests such as blood pressure monitoring and tracking any changes in your weight. These tests help to detect changes that could be signs of cancer, allowing for faster diagnosis, hopefully before the disease progress to an untreatable state. Women of proper age should also be adding yearly mammograms and pap smears to this list as well. (via Medincinenet)
In addition to basic cancer prevention, there are now several new tests for early cancer detection, especially when it comes to skin cancer. According to Women’s Health, some of the latest and greatest tests for skin cancer are as follows:
Total Body Photography: Having your dermatologist keep full body photographs of you on file, can be much more useful than you think. While you may feel that you know your body well, many times we overlook moles and freckles that we see every day, not noticing important changes. The procedure requires you to visit a medical photography studio, where every part of your body will be photographed. The pictures are very high definition, allowing for even the smallest of changes to be seen, making them easier for your dermatologist to keep track of.
MelaFind: Melafind is an FDA-approved device that analyzes moles for melanoma. The procedure involves a photo being taken of your mole with a specific camera, and then that photo is sent through a database to compare it to other, cancer specific moles. The database can even provide your doctor with a scale of severity, letting him or her know if a biopsy should be done.
While skin cancer is the topic of choice every time that the summer season approaches, breast cancer continues to be the number one cancer on most women’s minds. While a mammogram is still considered the best device for early detection, there are a couple of newer options for women as well. (via Cancer.org) Click here to read some amazing stories on breast cancer survivors.
Scintimammography (molecular breast imaging): Scintimammography involves a radioactive tracer being injected into a vein. This tracer then attaches itself to breast cancer cells, making them visable on a special camera.
Tomosynthesis (3-D mammography): This technology is very similar to a regular mammogram; however, the images taken can be combined into a 3-dimensional picture allowing tumors to be seen more clearly than in traditional mammograms.
While many women can live their entire life without ever being diagnosed with cancer, others are not so lucky. Early detection is the only hope for survival, regardless of the type of cancer being diagnosed. Know your body, be mindful about your yearly exams and always be on the lookout for advanced treatment options. After all ladies, this is your body, shouldn’t you be doing everything you can to keep it healthy?