September…Cancer awareness month
Cancer awareness month is here. Please take the time to educate yourself about this disease and how it can affect you personally and those around you.
According to the Cancer Society of Canada, almost half of all Canadians Canadians (41% of females and 46% of males) will develop cancer in their lifetime and a quarter of all Canadians are expected to die of the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for nearly 30% of all deaths, followed by cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and cerebrovascular diseases) and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Although many individuals who survive a cancer diagnosis continue to live productive and rewarding lives, the cancer experience presents many physical, emotional and spiritual challenges that can persist long after the disease is treated.
Despite these ongoing challenges, much progress has been made in our fight against cancer. Today, we know more about what causes cancer, how it develops and how best to treat it. We also know more about how we can improve the quality of life of people living with cancer and cancer survivors, as well as their families and caregivers.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund, about one-third of 12 major cancers can be prevented through a combination of changes in behaviour and lifestyle, such as a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. The World Health Organization suggests that prevention offers the most cost-effective, long-term strategy for controlling cancer and other non-communicable diseases. Cancer prevention and risk reduction can be further achieved through finding early detection through medical screening; cancer could be caught early and treated appropriately.
Finding Cancer Early
You can find possible health problems early, including some cancers, if you know your body and what is normal for you. When cancer is found early, it’s often easier to treat. Don’t ignore any changes to how your body feels. Tell your doctor about them. The sooner you report signs to your doctor, the sooner a problem can be dealt with.
• When to see your doctor
Regular checkups are important because healthcare professionals like doctors are trained to spot the early warning signs of cancer. But even if you’ve recently seen your doctor for a check-up, it’s important to report any of these changes as soon as possible:
• a new or unusual lump or swelling in the breast, testicles or any other part of the body
• any sore which does not heal anywhere on your body or in your mouth
• obvious change in the shape, size or colour of a mole or wart
• a nagging cough, hoarseness or a croaky voice
• difficulty swallowing
• blood in the urine, stool or phlegm
• unusual bleeding or discharge of any sort from the nipple or vagina
• any change in bladder habits, such as pain or difficulty urinating
• any change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea) that last more than a few weeks
• persistent indigestion
• unexplained weight loss, fever or fatigue
• unexplained aches and pains
• any new growth on the skin, or patches of skin that bleed, itch or become red
Having any of these signs doesn’t always mean that you have cancer. They may be due to some other medical problem, or they may not be serious at all. Only your doctor can tell for sure.
Screening tests help find some types of cancer before you have any symptoms. That means you have them even if you feel fine and you have a healthy lifestyle. They’re part of your regular medical care.
If you’re part of a certain age group or population in Canada, you can go for regular screening tests that can help find breast, cervical and colorectal cancer at such an early stage that you won’t have noticed that anything is wrong. Some screening tests can even help prevent cancer by finding changes in your body that would become cancer if they were left untreated.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about your risk of cancer and what screening tests you should have. Be sure to mention any family history of cancer. A family history of certain cancers may mean your risk is higher than normal. Your doctor may suggest testing at an earlier age or using a different test than recommended by the provincial guidelines.
Next week’s blog will continue to focus on Cancer prevention topics such as sun safety and proper eating habits.
**MOBB Medical is pleased to be part of such an important cause. Through the entire month of September 2014, our retail partner, Dixie Uniforms will donate 10% of all online purchases to Sick Kids hospital cancer research. ***
For more information on how you can get involved, please visit www.cancer.ca