DIAGNOSIS OF CANCER
The earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of its being cured. Some types of cancer — such as those of the skin, breast, mouth, testicles, prostate, and rectum — may be detected by routine self-exam or other screening measures before the symptoms become serious. Most cases of cancer are detected and diagnosed after a tumor can be felt or when other symptoms develop. In a few cases, cancer is diagnosed incidentally as a result of evaluating or treating other medical conditions.
Cancer diagnosis begins with a thorough physical exam and a complete medical history. Laboratory studies of blood, urine, and stool can detect abnormalities that may indicate cancer. When a tumor is suspected, imaging tests such as X-rays, Mammography, CT Scan, MRI Scan, Ultrasound, and fiber-optic endoscopy examinations help doctors determine the cancer’s location and size. To confirm the diagnosis of most cancers, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) or a biopsy needs to be performed in which a tissue sample is removed from the suspected tumor and studied under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
If the diagnosis is positive (cancer is present), other tests are performed to provide specific information about the cancer. This essential follow-up phase of diagnosis is called staging. The most important thing doctors need to know is whether cancer has spread from one area of the body to another. If the initial diagnosis is negative for cancer and symptoms persist, further tests may be needed. If the biopsy is positive for cancer, be sure to seek a confirming opinion by a specialist doctor before any treatment is started.
TREATMENT PROCEDURE FOR CANCER
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatments to eradicate the tumor or slow its growth may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy.
SOCIAL SUPPORT AND SPIRITUALITY
Having the support of friends and family can help you deal with the depression, fear, and anxiety that accompany cancer. In some cases, a strong support network can even affect the length of survival of cancer patients; studies have shown that men who experience limited social contact have a shorter survival time, while women with good social support survive longer from their cancers.
Prayer can relieve stress, create a sense of meaning and purpose, and provide solace. Being an actively spiritual person may have even more benefits; cancer patients who consider themselves spiritual suffer less anxiety and depression, and even less pain, from their cancer.
AT HOME CARE FOR CANCER
After radiation therapy for cancer, be gentle to your skin. Do not scrub it, expose it to sunlight, or wear tight clothing. Aloevera ointment is gentle and soothing, along with non-irritating lotions or creams, such as vitamin E.
Eat light snacks throughout the day rather than three heavy meals. Try eating food cold or at room temperature to avoid nausea.
If your treatment involves lowering your white blood cell count, avoid people who are ill. Tell your doctor about any fever or unusual symptoms.
In addition to taking prescribed medication, try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.