16. PTC Cancer Life Phases: Diagnosis
Updated: 9/1/2019 JMG
Once you know what symptoms to LOOK out for, consider cancer tests that allow us to detect cancers that do not have external, easy to see symptoms. A handy resource that follows is a table of cancer testing guidelines recommended for adults by age. Have you had these testings done within the past recommended number of years? If not, they may help catch things early when treatment is so highly successful. For even more detail, link to the related article listed below. And in another study specifically about colon rectal canceer (CRC), read about the mortality findings when screenings are not done or followed up properly, but don't limit that thinking just to CRC since it probably applies to screenings overall (see article below). Are you up to date on those routine recommended screenings?
Note: more videos wil be added soon that specifically address this topic of DIAGNOSIS.
Consider the following guidelines released in June of 2015:
Action step: screen for skin cancer
For the most common type of cancer, skin cancer, in general the US Preventive Services Tash Force has concluded there is not enough evidence to recommend for or against routine screening (total body examinaton by a doctor) for finding skin cancers early. But this recommendation is not about organ transplant recipients taking their immune supprssant medications. Annual or even semi-annual visits to your dermatologist (even one who specializes in transpant patients is better) is recommended. Early detection and treatment is important to avoid damage or even death from skin cancers that can metastasize into the blood stream and travel throughout the body.
What is screening?
Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
Action step: perform self-exam for skin cancer
Detecting skin cancer
Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of skin color. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable.
You can detect skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin. Download the AAD's body mole map to document your self-examination, or the How to SPOT Skin Cancer™ Infographic and know what to look for when checking your spots.
If you notice a spot that is different from others, or that changes, itches or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.