Be alert, learn to detect early signs of cancer

Self-examination

Self-examination and detection are crucial for early diagnosis and successful treatment of cancer.

Changes in the body like unusual lumps, bumps, masses and changes in skin colour or texture, sudden change in bowel habits and unexplained loss of weight are a few of the common symptoms which go unnoticed play an important role in early detection of cancer, said experts.

“One can detect oral cancer visually. If you find ulcer or any lump in mouth, then it is good to get it checked for cancer,” said Dr Meenu Walia, medical-oncologist, Dharamshila Hospital.

Oncologists from various streams said breast cancer can be identified by testing  for lumps in breasts after the monthly menstrual cycle is over for a woman. “We need to practice monthly head-to-toe self-examination of our body, so that we can find any new or changing lesion that might be cancerous or precancerous” said Dr Sharan Choudhri, surgical-oncologist.

Challenging fear mongering, Dr Ramesh Dawar, director-academics, said, “In 80 per cent of the cases, cancer  is not found despite symptoms for the same. So, there is no need to worry. However, as early detection is the best way for effective treatment, one should not hesitate to
go for cancer related check-ups.”

The hospital has a phone number on which people can take appointment for check-up.
Free tests For women above 40, pap smear and mammography tests for diagnosing cervical and breast cancers are done free of cost.

“Some pre-cancerous lesions start to show changes five to seven years before turning into cancer. If we can detect them, cancer can actually be prevented,” said Dr Jyoti Sinha, Gynaeoncologist with Dharamshila Hospital.

Sharing her experience, Dr Ashe Sahai, gynaecologist in the hospital, said she got a routine check-up, without any symptom and was shocked to find reports positive for breast cancer.
“Today I am living happily, thanks to early detection,” said she.

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