In many cases the sooner cancer is diagnosed and treatment begins the better the chances of a person recovering fully. If one develops cancer they can improve the chance of early detection if they have regular medical checkups and do some self-exams. Doctors often find early cancer during a physical exam or when carrying out routine tests even when there were no symptoms presented.
There are several methods that are used to diagnose cancer .with technological advancement these methods are now better as they help in a better understanding of cancer .there are now many diagnostic tools that can be used in cancer detection. Once cancer I suspected a diagnosis is made by pathologists and oncopathologists and imaging radiologists. The common diagnostic methods are;
This test involves a small tissue sample being taken from the area where cancer is suspected using a fine tipped needle, surgical excision or thicker hollow needle. The tissues are then taken to a microscope where they are observed to see if there are any cancer cells present. Biopsies can be done either on outpatient basis or using local anesthesia depending on the location of the tumor (Mandal, 2010).
Sentinel nodes biopsy
This is a procedure where very close and important nodes that are near the cancer are excised surgically and examined. The sentinel nodes are the first place where the cancer is likely to spread; it is only these lymph nodes which are likely to contain cancer cells.
This is an imaging technique whereby a thin and flexible tube that has a tiny camera on its end is inserted into cavities in the body. The doctor is then able to vie the suspicious areas. There are different types of scope that are specifically designed for viewing a specific area of the body. For instance a colonoscope is used to look at the colon and large intestines and a laparoscope is used top look into the abdomen.
Blood tests are carried out to detect normal blood cells as well as specific tumor markers. Tumor markers are substances that are released by some tumors and can be detected in the blood. For instance a blood test for prostrate cancer checks the amount of prostrate specific antigen PSA. If the PSA levels are higher than normal then this can be an indication of cancer. The tumor markers for ovarian cancer are CA-125 which is similarly used in the detection of ovarian cancer (Mandal, 2010).
Bone marrow aspiration
These usually show a picture of the bone marrow that can be affected by blood cancers and leukemia.
This is known as pap smear which is a routine test where a sample of cells from the cervix of a woman are examined under a microscope .this examination helps in identifying any changes in the cells which could be an indication of cervical cancer or other conditions.
Sputum analysis and bronchial washing analysis
The cells found in the sputum and bronchial secretions are taken for u=analysis under a microscope to check for any signs of lung and respiratory cancers.
There are many types of imaging techniques which include X-rays, CT scans, and RI scans of different parts of the body. X-rays are the most common techniques that are used which can be made mores specific by using various enemas. This is used for the detection of small intestine and stomach growths.
Mammograms are X-rays of the breast used for screening for and detecting breast lumps and growths.
Computerized axial tomography (CAT scan) use radiographic beams to create images that are detailed and computerized. These are more specific compared to the standard X-rays.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) use powerful magnetic field for the creation of detailed computer images of the soft tissues, blood vessels and major organs in the body. CT scan and MRI can both be used together with radio-labeled dyes so that clearer and more specific pictures are obtained.
The stage of cancer refers to the stage the cancer was at when its first diagnosis was done. Being sure of the stage is very important since it is a crucial factor when it comes to deciding the best treatment method for the cancer. The stage is also important when it comes to the prognosis; predicting the effect of the cancer on a person who has it. On average the higher a stage is the worse the effects of cancer have on a person. The hope for the treatment of cancer is that there will be improvement I its prognosis in both prediction and reality.
Stage 0 in situ
At this stage the cell that becomes a cancer cell does so together with other similar cells.it can produce a tumor right there in the tissue in a way that posses little or absolutely mop threat to life. This is known as in situ cancer which is cancer at the position where it started, there is a possibility that some cancers do not go beyond the early stage (National Cancer Institute, 2013).
Stage 1; localized cancer
At this next stage the cancer cells now gain the ability of passing through basement membranes; the thin, fibrous boundary to tissues where the cancer began and begin invading neighboring tissues. This invasion is a very serious step as I is an indication that the growing cells can be life threatening. While the cancer still remains as a single lump in the tissue where it began and also in the neighboring tissue it is said to be at a localized stage (Armstrong, 2012).
Stage 2 and 3; regional spread
Once there is an invasion of cancer cell the next step is the daughter cells invasion through lymph vessles.as the cells move to the blood stream these cancer cells are caught up in the lymph node which is the powerhouse of the immune system. There can be an immune response against it provoked that can destroy it alongside other cancer cells. There are cases where it divides and forms lumps within the lymph nodes.in this stage the cancer has spread to the general region where it first began and not to other body parts (Armstrong, 2012).
Stage 4; distant spread
This stage is quite varied cells within the lump in the lymph nodes can further spread through lymph vessels to other lymph nodes or to the blood stream. Cells from the original lump can also invade the capillary and make their way into the blood stream. Once these cells are in the blood stream, they can go anywhere in the body, form new colonies and further spread (National Cancer Institute, 2013).
Complications of cancer
Depending on the health of the patient and stage of the tumor cancer complications can be very painful, inconvenient change lives and even fatal. These complications include; mental and emotional complications. Cancer patients have an increased risk of the development of mod disorders such as depression and anxiety. Many cancer patients are anxious, sad and grieved as a response to their cancer diagnosis. There are also some physical complications of cancer. The main physical complication of cancer is pain. When the tumor grows it spreads into surrounding tissues or exerts pressure on nearby nerves hence causing the patient to feel pain (Info.com, 2013). This pain can either be visceral; caused by damaged organ tissue, somatic; pain that affects specific areas of skin, bone or muscle or neuropathic pain; caused by injuries to the CNS. Other physical complications include fever, nausea, vomiting, swelling of lymph nodes, itchiness and so on. Another complication is metastasis .this is the spread of cancerous cells through the blood or lymph system from one body area to another.
The side effects of treatment
Although radiation and chemotherapy cure a patient's cancer, they produce…