Don't Discount Benefits of Early Cancer Screenings

Don't Discount Benefits of Early Cancer Screenings

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Cancer is a disease that just doesn’t care about age, ethnicity, socioeconomic class or a variety of other factors. An indiscriminate killer, this disease is estimated to claim the lives of more than 500,000 Americans each year. About 1.7 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with non-skin cancer forms of the disease each year. While those numbers are staggering, they represent vast improvements from only a few decades ago. Thanks to the development of routine screening tests for many forms of cancer, this disease’s grip on the country is beginning to loosen. The benefits, however, can only be enjoyed if people at risk for various forms of the disease report for testing.

Here are just a few of the reasons why routine screening, when available, is considered crucial:

* Life preservation – This is the obvious benefit of cancer screening. When cancers, such as prostate, breast, ovarian and lung, are detected in their earliest stages, cure chances go up dramatically. People are likely to find that even some of the deadliest forms of this disease, such as lung cancer, can be successfully treated when detected early. The simple reality is that routine screening can and does save lives.

* Quality of life preservation – While medical professionals now have access to tools and treatments that can help them save the lives of those diagnosed with more advanced forms of cancer, this route comes with its share of perils. Colorectal cancer, for example, can often be stopped in its tracks when routine screening enables doctors to remove precancerous polyps before they become cancer. Should routine screening not be provided and the polyps are left to develop, surgery, chemotherapy and even radiation may be required to help preserve life. While these tools can have tremendous results in battling more advanced forms of colorectal cancer, they may come at a price that hampers quality of life in the process.

* Peace of mind -People who are at higher risk for lung cancer may spend a great deal of time worrying about this prospect. A simple CT scan, however, may offer peace of mind. The same can be said for mammograms and breast cancer, colonoscopies and colon cancer, blood tests and prostate cancer and more. It is often much better to undergo screening and find out for sure than to spend time worrying without taking action that could very well prove to be lifesaving.

America is starting to gain ground in its battle against cancer. Routine screening exams, such as CT scans and mammograms, get part of the credit. These tests, however, cannot help if people don’t take advantage of them.


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