Cancer diagnosis is probably the most important and tedious stage in curing cancer effectively. Diagnosis is important in many ways. Proper diagnosis validates the nature of causes and symptoms detected and the impact they may cause to the body. It also paves way for better cancer research and forms an important basis to calculate the overall survival rate and prognosis.
What is cancer diagnosis?
Detecting cancer cells is a difficult task and discovering their origin is even more difficult. Thus, a proper set of techniques need to be applied to detect the malignant tumors and understand their origin, intensity and nature. Tumors can be of various forms and some of them are non-cancerous. Thus, confirming whether a tumor is cancerous or not comes within the scope of diagnosis of cancer.
Diagnosis of cancer also talks about the various complications that may arise during the development of cancer cells and takes the intensity and frequency of causes into consideration. Diagnosis uses some of the contemporary and reliable methods to inspect tumors and overall pattern of cell development. It also takes the advantage of new findings explored by cancer research and tries to coordinate them with the existing ones. Thus, diagnosis of cancer is a continuous process and the pattern may change with the change in the stage of cancer.
Facets of cancer diagnosis
Diagnosis of cancer depends on a variety of factors. The process is very sensitive and even a slight change in the pattern of cell development may cause considerable deviations in the output of diagnosis. Thus, a thorough diagnosis pattern has to be followed and all the possibilities need to be taken into consideration.
Personal and family history of cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer and needs to be considered seriously during diagnosis. Persons with such cancer history are more susceptible to cancerous attack and may display cancer symptoms in very early stages.
Smoking is injurious to health and is also a major cause of cancer development in the body. It affects the lungs and vital areas of the digestive system badly. Hence, this habit has to be considered while diagnosing cancer.
Excess drinking of alcohol is also proved to be risky and has been a common cause of cancer development. It is found to be a direct cause for liver, abdominal and stomach cancer and has been an indirect cause for many other forms of cancers.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common causes of cancer. It has been a direct contributor in almost all types of cancers and is caused mainly due to improper sex practices. Having multiple sex partners is the biggest reason of being infected by this virus. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and other sexually transmitted diseases have also been traced as common contributors for cancerous development. Diagnosis techniques for cancer have to take all these infections into consideration and design the medical examination pattern accordingly.
Age of the victim has to be considered before diagnosing him for cancer. The disease generally develops in people aged above 45 years and risk of being infected by malignant cells increases with age. Diagnosis techniques may vary from person to person and may not be the same for all age groups. Health complications increase with age and the diagnosis methods need to take all such complications into consideration.
Tumors can be cancerous or benign. Benign tumors are harmless to the body and do not kill or damage healthy tissues and cells. Also, they can be eliminated completely by surgery and have rare possibilities of regeneration. Cancerous tumors are the ones who need to be diagnosed thoroughly as they pose a threat to vital cells and tissues and metastasize quite rapidly. Hence, the diagnosis pattern for cancer should be such that the nature of tumors is understood correctly and the future possibilities of the damage they may cause to the body are also considered properly.
Immune system of the victim needs to be considered while diagnosing him for presence of cancerous cells. Weak immune system provides the most favorable conditions for the cancerous cells to grow more freely and metastasize rapidly.
Cancer diagnosis techniques
Biopsy is the most common diagnosis technique used worldwide to detect the presence of cancerous cells in the body. Ultrasound and fine needle aspiration biopsy are also used to diagnose the intensity and character of tumors.
Some may also undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or abdominal scan for thorough inspection of digestive system or the vital organs adjacent to it. Computed tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) test and X-rays are also some of the very basic methods to detect and diagnose tumors in the early stages of the disease. PAP smear test is also an important diagnosis technique to detect and diagnose the presence of cancerous cells or tumors in the vaginal or uterine areas.
Indications to undergo cancer diagnosis
Breathing problems, abdominal pains and difficulties in swallowing and digesting food are some of the early indications to undergo thorough medical examination. Frequent infections and ulcers that do not recover properly by normal medication must be considered for diagnosis of cancerous cells. Some may also suffer from backache, pains in joints and difficulties in normal body movements. Considerable loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia and diarrhea are also direct indications for a few types of cancers like anal, vaginal, uterine and bowel. Any unnatural bleeding or discharge must be inspected thoroughly. Bone cancers patients may suffer from joint pains.
Cancer diagnosis must be performed under thorough medical supervision and the output should be cross-checked time and again. Cancerous cells develop quite rapidly and consistent monitoring of their behavior is very important. The diagnosis techniques used must be in accordance with the severity of cancer and focus should be on finding the origin of cancerous cells.