No one wants to talk about cancer, but it’s something that millions of people suffer from each year, so it’s worth knowing what you can about it. That’s why this article will cover everything you need to know, from the diagnosis stage to your treatment options.
To first be diagnosed with cancer, your doctor may take a few different approaches. The most common may come in the form of a physical exam. This will include your doctor feeling specific areas of your body in the search for lumps that could point towards cancer. As well as lumps, they may search for abnormalities, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ.
Otherwise, your doctor may require some laboratory tests to diagnose what cancer you have. This could include urine and blood tests to help search for abnormalities. You can also have imaging tests, which can come in the form of traditional x rays, MRIs, or PET scans. All of these tests are designed to search for abnormalities.
The Different Stages Of Cancer
You have most likely heard of the different stages of cancer. Doctors associate stages for cancer depending on how much they’ve spread, and how aggressive they are. Doctors also use this to help find out more about cancer, and the likelihood that it would come back after specific treatments, as well as general diagnosing.
Staging tests will then be conducted post-diagnosis, once the stage is determined. Tests may include bone scans, or x-ray scans to find out more information. Most of the time, the cancer stages are dictated by numbers ranging from 0-4, with the higher number being the more advanced stage of cancer.
The treatments that you will go through for your cancer will come in different forms, depending on what the goals are. If your cancer has a cure, then there will be specific treatment tailored towards that cancer. In general, you will have primary treatment that aims to remove cancerous cells or kill them outright.
Primary treatment is the most common form of primary treatment, which can also come in the form of surgery. For example, if your surgery is particularly sensitive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, then it’s likely that this is what you will receive.
Being Cancer Free
If all goes well, then you may enter a state of being cancer-free. This means you have entered a remission of cancer with no significant evidence of any disease being in your body, with it looking unlikely to return.
Your doctor or team of healthcare experts should be working with you to treat you through various methods. As well as that, they may advise you on things to avoid whilst away from the healthcare facility, such as methods to stop smoking.
For you to get to this stage, you will have to go through a few scans, bloodwork, or tests in general. These tests could be something like a breast biopsy, or even a bone marrow biopsy. Getting to the stage of cancer-free can be difficult, purely because it can be difficult to measure. That’s why health experts use cancer-free when they can’t detect anything, rather than simply say there is nothing there at all, as they can’t be 100% sure, but the signs look good.
That’s because if there is no residual cancer that can be seen or detected, then it’s likely that cancer will be gone forever. If you’re still unsure of what this stage means, then you can learn more through research, such as reading Ezra’s guide to living cancer-free, as they are experts within the field and can also provide you with medical assistance. For situations where the cancer is almost gone but still detectable, you will go into a state of remission.
Being in remission, on the other hand, more refers to when you’ve had a decrease or even complete disappearance of any signs or symptoms of cancer. It can come in different levels, such as partial remission or complete remission.
There will still likely be some form of cancer in your system, but it will have gotten to a level that is much more manageable, allowing you to live your life. It will also largely depend on what type of cancer you had in general, and what stage it was at. The next stage to go from being a patient will be a survivor, which can be a difficult and emotional process to reach.
Support And Coping Mechanisms
That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for support or help when you need it. Whether it’s from the moment you’ve been diagnoses, to working on being a survivor. Every person will have their way of coping due to any emotional or physical changes in your life because of cancer.
Support can come in the form of talking to your friends or family, as they can provide practical support. For example, they can look after your home whilst you’re away, feed your pets or supply you with emotional support In the hospital.
You should also speak to your healthcare provider, as they may be able to fill in any gaps in your treatment or cancer that you’re simply not aware of. Finding someone like this to talk with can help clear us any confusion.
What You Can Do To Prepare For An Appointment
If you’re worried about cancer and suspect you have any symptoms or signs pointing towards cancer, then you should speak to your doctor first. They may be able to then refer you to a specialist for proper testing, and give you more of an insight.
An appointment may be brief, so you should use your time well. If it helps, write down any relevant information such as symptoms and feelings you’ve had, or even cancer information from your family. If you have any questions you want to ask, write them down too, just in case you forget about them during the appointment.