How Important Is Early Detection?

Shauna M. Birdsall, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, answered on behalf of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)

Early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for effective treatment. Two major components of early detection of cancer are education to promote early diagnosis and cancer screening.

Some early signs of cancer include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion, change in bowel habits and chronic hoarseness. It is important to follow up with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Screening involves checking for cancer or precancerous conditions.

Ask your doctor for more information about which cancer screening tests are appropriate for you. For more information on specific cancer screening test, Juliet Wilkinson, Oncology Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) When you catch a cancer early, regardless of its origin, it may be more treatable. Take colon cancer, for instance. If you catch the cancer while it is still a small, isolated polyp in the intestine, it can usually be removed with a colonoscopy and you may be able to avoid chemotherapy, radiation or other adjunctive treatments. If cancers are left undiagnosed and therefore untreated, your chances of metastasis (spreading of the cancer) rise.