Early detection saves lives

Make a plan, see your doctor, early detection saves lives

With such staggering statistics, it remains vital to detect cancer in its early stages. This article is to help raise awareness but also allow you to create a plan of action and see your doctor. Proper screening, diagnostic and testing precautions as well as treatments are the best way to enhance cancer survival.

If you’re part of a certain age group or population in Canada, you can go for regular screening tests that can help find breast, cervical and colorectal cancer at such an early stage that you won’t have noticed that anything is wrong. Some screening tests can even help prevent cancer by finding changes in your body that would become cancer if they were left untreated. Benefits of regular screening include a better survival rate and better quality of life.

Regular check-ups are important because doctors are trained to spot the early warning signs of cancer. Some things to report to your doctor include:

• An unusual lump on the body;

• Obvious change in the shape, size, or color of a mole/wart;

• Difficulty swallowing;

• A nagging cough, hoarseness or a croaky voice;

• Unusual bleeding;

• Any change in bladder habits;

•Any change in bowel habits that last more than a few weeks;

• Unexplained weight loss, fever, or fatigue.

Having any of these signs doesn’t always mean that you have cancer. They may be due to some other medical problem, or they may not be serious at all.

Only your doctor can tell for sure.

None of us are invincible when it comes to our health.

If you have been diagnosed, know that it’s okay to feel grief, shock, denial, anger and even despair.

In the end though, always find the strength to pick yourself up and move ahead.

Need cancer help or support? Visit CancerConnection.ca or phone 1-888-939-3333. CancerConnection.ca is an online community where people facing cancer and their loved ones can share experiences and build relationships to help them through their cancer journey.

We all have a true inner strength; the real test is what we do when being strong is the only choice we have.

Ivana Topic is a volunteer with Canadian Cancer Society, Quesnel office.