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National Cancer Awareness Day: Why regular screenings matter?

Discover the life-saving power of early cancer detection through regular screenings. Learn why it matters and how to protect your health in this informative guide.

National Cancer Awareness Day: Why regular screenings matter? SHG
First Published Nov 7, 2023, 7:30 AM IST

Cancer is a serious illness that affects many people worldwide. It's a group of diseases where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably. Detecting cancer early is very important because it helps improve the chances of survival and reduces the physical, emotional, and financial burden on individuals and their families.

National Cancer Awareness Day: Why regular screenings matter? SHG

Cancer is a big global problem. It doesn't care about a person's age, race, or money. There are more than 100 types of cancer, each with its own characteristics and treatment needs. In 2022, India had around 1.4 million new cancer cases( Cancer incidence estimates for 2022 & projection for 2025: Result from National Cancer Registry Programme, India). The World Health Organization thinks that cancer-related deaths will keep increasing, and by 2030, about 10 million people could die every year from cancer.

Finding cancer early is crucial. Here's why:

1. Better Survival: When we catch cancer early, it's often easier to treat and might even be cured. For example, if we find breast cancer early, about 90% of people survive for at least five years, but if it's found late, only 28% survive.

2. Easier Treatments: Early cancer might need less harsh treatments like surgery or radiation, which means fewer side effects and complications. This helps people have a better quality of life.

3. Saves Money: Treating early-stage cancer is usually cheaper than dealing with advanced cancer. It's better for healthcare systems and patients.

4. Less Stress: A late-stage cancer diagnosis is very hard emotionally. Finding cancer early reduces anxiety, stress, and emotional trauma, helping people live better lives.

5. Stops Spread: Early detection prevents cancer from spreading to other parts of the body, which makes treatment harder and less effective.

To make early detection work, regular cancer screenings are essential. These are medical tests and check-ups that find cancer before it shows symptoms. Common screenings include mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopies for colorectal cancer, Pap smears for cervical cancer, and PSA tests for prostate cancer.

National Cancer Awareness Day: Why regular screenings matter? SHG

Here's why regular screenings are important:

1. Customized to You: Screenings aren't the same for everyone. They depend on your age, gender, family history, and lifestyle. Doctors can figure out what's right for you.

2. Follow Guidelines: Health organizations give guidelines for screenings. These guidelines are based on lots of research and help balance early detection with avoiding unnecessary tests. Following these rules is crucial for the right screenings at the right time.

3. More Awareness: Regular screenings also help you learn about your cancer risks and how to stay healthy. When people get screened, they become more aware of their health and are more likely to make healthy choices to lower their cancer risk.

4. Quick Action: If a screening shows something unusual or signs of cancer, it allows for quick action. This could be more tests, monitoring, or starting treatment, depending on what's found.

5. Doctor's Advice: Doctors play a big role in teaching patients about the importance of regular screenings and helping them through the process. You should talk openly with your doctor about your health concerns and risks to get the right screenings.

In conclusion, cancer is a tough enemy, but early detection is a powerful tool to fight it. Regular screenings can save lives, reduce costs, and make people and communities healthier. It's important for individuals to learn, break down barriers, and work with doctors to get the right screenings at the right time. With more awareness and effort, early detection can help more people survive cancer and get better.

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