Cancer Prevention: How To Screen Yourself for Common Cancers

cancer careUntil there is a complete cure for cancer, many of the best ways to stop this disease are by limiting your risk factors. That’s why it’s so important to check for early warning signs associated with various iterations of this disease. Unfortunately, cancer cases are seeing a projected increase of 50% across the world between 2012 and 2030. While this is an alarming projection, medical science makes advancements every day towards better cancer care and treatment. Until they can catch up to cancer, you would do best to check yourself regularly.

How to check yourself for common cancers:

Many people don’t know how effective checking for cancer can be. Here are some that you can screen yourself for at home. 

  • Testicular Cancer typically is found by running one’s fingers around the testicle, feeling for any lumps or abnormalities. If you find a lump, contact your doctor immediately. Though it might not actually be cancer, it is important to have that discussion with a medical professional. Caution is key.
  • Breast Cancer first signs can present in a few different way. There might be a slight discoloration of the breast, visible or non-visible lumps, soreness, or any perceived abnormality. To check thoroughly for lumps, lay down and use both hands to go from top to bottom, feeling for any anomalous tissue. You will want to repeat this procedure sitting and standing to ensure consistent results. Again, if you feel a lump it could be benign, but the only way to be certain is to contact your doctor.
  • Skin Cancer is a bit of a catch-all term for various cancers that appear on the skin. Some present as an irregularly shaped mole, or one that has grown between checks. Others may manifest as lumps, scaly patches of browned skin, or white discoloration. Make sure to check as much of your body as you can see. You can have someone you trust check the places on your body that are out of your view. It can’t be overstated that if you find anything, seek out your doctor immediately.

Another cancer to be aware of is Prostate Cancer, which cannot effectively be found by self-examination. The screening method can be daunting to some men, as it involves the insertion of a finger or piece of medical equipment into the rectum. This might be uncomfortable, but it allows your doctor to examine the prostate for abnormalities. The prostate is located about two or three inches inside the anal cavity in men and is about the size of a walnut. If any larger, this can be an early warning sign. Most men get checked when they turn 40 years old. 

Treatment and Cancer Care
If you have been diagnosed with cancer in any form, it can be emotionally exhausting. Thankfully, there is a large network of oncologists and treatment centers across the country. The discussion you have with your doctor will determine the course of action you will take towards treatment. For women who need breast cancer treatment, whether that comes in the form of a mastectomy or radiation treatment or another method recommended by a doctor, know that there will likely be a cancer center near you. The same can be said for men who have been diagnosed and will require either testicular or prostate cancer care.

There are strong and supportive communities that have been built over many years by doctors and families alike, all there to help you cope with this diagnosis. They are there if the worst is to happen, but remember, prevention is the most effective treatment.

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