early detection is the key to fighting cancer

Medha’s mother had been experiencing bleeding even after having reached menopause. A visit to the doctor revealed that she was in the late stage of cervical cancer and immediately needed to be hospitalised to begin treatment. Medha’s world came crashing down with this news since she had already lost her father two years back.

While having a chat with her doctor, Medha was informed that routine pap smear tests done earlier, could have led to an early detection of cancer. This was an eye-opener for her. However it was too late now. Most cases of cancer that are reported, are late stage cancers, wherein the patient has long ignored the warning signs of the development of cancer due to lack of awareness about the same.

Early detection of cancer increases chances of successful treatment. This is possible when there is an increased awareness among people about the early symptoms of cancer . This could aid in the cancer getting diagnosed in the initial stages itself. Additionally, screening people for cancer also helps to detect cancer early in patients and get their treatment started. Here are a few symptoms that should not be ignored:

  • A sore that refuses to go by itself and continues to trouble. You should especially be alert if it happens to be in the mouth, on the lip or on the tongue. Do not mistake it for a common cold sore, and see your doctor at the earliest. Such sores can develop into cancer if not taken care of.
  • Women need to be doubly aware of any lumps that they notice in the body during routine examination, especially those in the breast. This is one of the first symptoms that could lead to early detection of cancer of the breast.
  • If you are experiencing indigestion for a long time and have tried everything under the sun to treat it, or if you notice a sudden change in bowel habits, chances are it can be symptomatic of cancer. Report it to your doctor immediately.
  • Sudden flow of blood from any part of your body, without any injury, should make you cautious. It needs to be given urgent medical attention and can help you detect cancer early. Blood outflow in cough or vomit, urine and through rectum are common symptoms of cancer. Uterine cancer in women is characterised by bloody discharge that occurs between menstrual periods or after menopause.
  • A sore throat that does not rectify itself leading to persistent hoarseness or a cough that lasts longer than normal, could be an underlying cause of cancer of the larynx (voice box), respiratory passages or lung.
  • If you have been losing weight without any weight loss plans or following a strict diet, please see your doctor.

The list above is important for you to understand that knowing these dangerous signs at the right time can assist in the timely diagnosis of cancer. However, just symptomatic knowledge is not sufficient to detect cancer early, screening is also crucial. Screening is an effective tool that looks for early signs of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions, long before any symptoms appear. It can help identify cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more likely to be successful thus increasing the chances of survival.

Cancers of the breast, uterus, cervix and lip/oral cavity are the three most commonly occurring cancers in India, accounting close to 35 percent of the total cancer burden and hence are a public health priority. Operational guidelines for the screening and management of common cancers were developed by the government with consultation from experts in the field a few years back. Their implementation by the states will not only prevent but also identify cancer at an early stage, especially breast cancer, cervical cancer and oral cancer.

Screening of cancer is done either through gynaecological, or clinical breast examination by qualified doctors to detect cancer early in women, especially that of the breast, uterus or cervix. Oral examination helps detect cancers of the lip or oral cavity. Apart from this, pap smears and mammograms if done routinely by women over 40, could help identify cancer at an early stage, thus leading to better treatment options.

However, should you be diagnosed with cancer after being screened for it, you have to be prepared for the physical and psychological toll that it takes on your body. Financially, the cost of cancer treatment even during early stage cancer can be overwhelming. Hence opting for a cancer insurance plan keeps you protected at all stages of cancer in your lifetime and provides a financial cushion.

Future Generali Cancer Protect plan is designed keeping in mind the needs of a cancer patient going through a difficult time. It could be either you or a family member that you care for. So secure yourself and your family against cancer and be equipped to fight this menacing disease together with your cancer insurance plan hand in hand. After all, health is wealth