Primary Care Methods for Detecting Cancer at an Early Stage
Primary care plays a key role in the diagnosis of cancer. The vast majority of patients with cancer will show symptoms before the diagnosis. It is likely for some patients to undergo more than one test before the cancer is detected.
General practitioners, nurses, and primary care doctors each have very important roles. They can assist in efforts to diagnose cancer early in asymptomatic patients. They can do this by motivating and promoting participation in cancer screening programs.
It is well established that cancer survival is greatly dependent on the stage at diagnosis. Cancers diagnosed at early stages, such as stage I or II, have better treatment options. Treatments at these stages are more likely to be successful. They also have better overall outcomes when compared to late-stage cancers like stages III or IV.
Cancer screening programs aim to diagnose cancer in asymptomatic patients. This helps increase early detection and treatment. The downside is that their cost efficacy is dependent on reaching a minimum level of participation.
How Many Stages Does Cancer Have and What Do They Mean?
Cancer generally has four stages. They are stages I through IV. Some cancers have stage 0 (zero). Here’s what these stages mean:
Stage 0: This stage means the cancer is still located in the place it began and hasn’t spread to nearby tissues. Stage 0 cancers are often curable.
Stage I: This stage usually represents a tiny tumor or cancer that has not grown intensely into surrounding tissues. It’s sometimes called early-stage cancer.
Stages II and III: These stages represent bigger cancers or tumors that have grown more deeply into nearby tissues.
Stage IV: Cancer in this stage has spread to different organs and parts of the body. It is usually referred to as advanced or metastatic cancer.
4 Common Methods for Detecting Cancer at an Early Stage
The diagnosis of cancer normally begins with the detection of symptoms that may be related to the disease. Cancer should be diagnosed by a qualified primary care doctor. Symptoms linked with cancer vary, but some common symptoms include;
A persistent lump or a sore that refuses to heal
Changes in bowel or bladder habits
Indigestion or trouble swallowing