With cancer being a leading cause of death in the US, early detection and treatment can greatly help improve the chances of being cured and living a healthy life. While some types of cancer can be detected by simple self-examinations, in most cases testing is usually done when a tumor can be felt or other symptoms develop.
- Cancer diagnosis involves a thorough physical examination and analysis of the complete medical history of the patient.
- Laboratory analysis of blood, urine, and stool is also used to detect any signs of cancer.
- In the case that a tumor can be felt or is suspected, imaging techniques such as X-ray, ultrasound, endoscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), and computed tomography (CT) may be used to pinpoint its exact location and size.
- Once the tumor has been found, to confirm the diagnosis, a biopsy is performed. This involves removing a small tissue sample from the tumor and analyzing it for cancer cells.
- Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, a staging phase is carried out to find out if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer treatment is used to either get rid of the tumor or prevent it from growing and spreading in the body. The treatment may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy.
Supplemental care also plays a major role in the treatment of cancer. A few commonly used methods are:
The goal of cancer support is to help alleviate symptoms and maintain general health and quality of life. It involves providing the required support to the patients and families, be it emotional, psychological, or logistical. It extends beyond just the treatment of the disease into the complete rehabilitation of the patients. In some cases, for terminally ill patients it involves hospice care.
Exercise can help improve overall well being and mood in cancer patients, reducing their overall anxiety levels and strengthening their bodies. It has been shown to improve the results of the overall cancer treatment.
Following a nutritious and well-balanced diet has been shown to have a major role to play in cancer prevention and during treatment. On the other hand, certain dietary habits have been linked to increased risk of contracting cancer or hindering treatment.