1. How can you tell if you have cancer without seeing a doctor?
You can only suspect. A regular thorough physical check-up is your best guard against cancer, plus an examination when one of the seven danger signals or warning appears. You are the first line of defense against cancer because, you alone, can recognize a danger signal.
2. What are some of the early signs of cancer?
There are seven common ones. They are often called the Seven Danger Signals of Cancer.
You should at once consult a doctor upon the appearance of any sign.
3. Is pain an early symptom of cancer?
No, except in a cancer involving bone or nerve tissue. Pain usually is a late symptom and when it occurs, the growth is often far advanced.
4. Why should cancer be diagnosed and treated early?
The sooner it is found it is less likely to have spread to other parts of the body. Early cancer can be cured.
5. How long it is safe to wait before consulting a physician?
Any delay is dangerous. Go at once to a doctor and ask for a thorough examination.
6. Why are periodic examinations necessary?
The earlier a cancer is treated the greater are the chances of a cure. Through periodic examinations cancer may be detected in its early stages before the individual has noticed any sign or symptom in him.
7. Where can you get a cancer check-up?
You can get a cancer check-up at the Cancer Detection Center, Civil Hospital Shillong. Any individual with or without warning signals can come for check-up.
8. What comprises a thorough cancer check-up?
Thorough cancer check-up means examination of all accessible body parts like head and neck, oral cavity, chest, abdomen, breast, vaginal and rectal examination. Other investigations will be done, depends on the organs examined and if there is any suspicions of cancer.
9. Is the check-up painful?
The check-up takes only an hour and is completely painless.
10. What is mammography?
Mammography is a special X-ray examination of the breast tissues. It is a quite sensitive test to pick up early lesions of the breast.
11. What is a pap smear?
The Papanicolaou test (PAP smear) is in fact a microscopic examination of the cells exfoliated from the uterus and cervix. The doctor takes a swab from the tissue surface for examination. This test warns patients of the presence of early pre-cancerous lesion.
12. Is bleeding always a sign of cancer?
No. Bleeding should be promptly and carefully investigated to determine if it is due to cancer. A small percentage of patients with blood stained discharge from the nipple have cancer. Bleeding from other body openings, such as rectum or bladder, should be carefully investigated after the age of 50 can be a very suspicious sign of cancer.
13. Does blood in stool indicate cancer?
Stool streaked with bright blood or the occurrence of black or "tarry" stools should lead to prompt and thorough investigation. The assumption that rectal bleeding is merely due to hemorrhoids, or piles, is most dangerous, since such bleeding maybe due to multiple causes, including cancer.
14. Does blood in the urine indicate cancer?
It may be. But it may also be caused by conditions other than cancer. A careful examination is essential to rule out cancer.
15. Is it true that cancer generally develops among people in poor health?
There is no known relation between the status of one’s health and the development of cancer. Poor genital hygiene and poor oral hygiene may be contributory factor in cancer causation.
16. How can we diagnose cancer of the stomach?
Upper G-1 endoscopy is the best investigation for diagnosing stomach cancer. A flexible tube (Endoscope) is passed through mouth and introduced into food pipe and stomach for telescopic visualization. Biopsy can be taken if any lesion is found in the stomach or food pipe.
17. How are cancers in the head and neck region diagnosed?
Cancers in the head and neck region can be diagnosed by simple clinical examination which includes visualization of oral cavity and voice box with the help of head light and mirror. Any growth, ulcer or white patch is biopsied to confirm the clinical diagnosis. This is then reported by an experienced Histo-pathologist in the laboratory. In India more than 40% of male cancers arise in mouth and throat.
18. What techniques are used to detect cancer?
There is no substitute to good clinical examination. Ultrasound, X-Rays, CT scan, MRI & Mammography are some of diagnostic imaging tools. Various blood tests (PSA, AFP) and endoscopic procedures are also available to clinch the diagnosis. Cytology (FNAC) or Biopsy of lesion is desirable before starting any treatment.
Published and issued by STATE CANCER
SOCIETY OF MEGHALAYA, for public interest.