The earlier cancer is found, the more likely it is that it can be successfully treated. Cancer research is making huge progress and now there are all sorts of incredible ways that cancer can be detected. While doctors may use technologies such as preclinical molecular imaging to detect signs of cancer, you too can check your body for signs of change.
Of course, a change in your body is not necessarily going to mean you have cancer, there are plenty of changes that are perfectly fine. However, there are a few checks you are well recommended to do every so often, just to stay in touch with what is normal for you. Consider these checks as a normal part of healthy living.
Do a Full Body Skin Check
As skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, and often shows visible signs, a full body check is well worth your time in the bathroom with a pair of mirrors – however weird that might feel! The Skin Cancer Foundation have a full, step-by-step guide to checking yourself over that is both useful and reassuring. You don’t need to do this every day, but once a month is a good idea, just so you can keep track of any changes that might occur. Needless to say, if you do spot anything – like a change in mole or a patch of discolored skin – make an appointment to see your doctor for a check-up.
Check For Lumps or Thickening Skin
Most of the time a lump is probably a cyst that is completely benign (not cancer) and will go away by itself. Sometimes though, cysts do require a minor operation if they are causing problems such as fatigue or discomfort. While you shouldn’t make any assumptions about a lump being cancerous or not, you definitely should take any abnormality to a doctor, especially if you notice that is has grown over time. Every doctor agrees that it is better to check and find nothing rather than wait until it is more difficult to treat so don’t be afraid of wasting their time on something so little.
Other Changes to Watch Out For
The number of signs and symptoms that could be cancer related are many and varied, so much so that if you google almost any symptom you could be panicked into thinking it might be cancer. Because all these symptoms are also signs of all sorts of other things, you are recommended to keep an eye on them, but don’t make any assumptions without seeing a doctor. Go to your doctor if you notice changes to your bowel movements or appetite, increased tiredness, a persistent cough or have sores that don’t heal.
Cancer is a worrying topic that most people don’t like to think about – never mind discuss – but there are so many new methods for curing cancer now that patients are significantly more likely to survive. The sooner you catch a symptom and check it out, the higher that chance is. If you are in any way worried that you may be showing symptoms, go straight to your doctor to make an appointment for a check-up and be open with them about any changes you have noticed.