Is it possible to diagnose cancer early in addition to screening tests?

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Regardless of the possible participation in screening tests, it should be remembered that the appearance of disturbing symptoms should always prompt you to see a doctor. Be honest and open with your doctor about your symptoms – even if they are embarrassing and intimate. The role of the doctor is to correctly interpret the information obtained and plan diagnostics.

Hiding symptoms, not mentioning them – for example, because of the feeling of embarrassment – is against the patient. Many types of cancers cause symptoms including bleeding from the vagina (cervical cancer) or the anus (colorectal cancer), bad breath (esophageal cancer, stomach cancer), and skin ulcers (e.g. breast cancer or skin cancer). Reporting such ailments can help the doctor in diagnosis and speed up diagnosis, and early diagnosis often allows the cancer to be cured and the patient’s life saved.

Breast self-examination

It should also be mentioned that regular self-examination is an important activity allowing for the early detection of breast cancer. It involves visual examination of the breasts and palpation. Every woman after the age of 20 should perform breast self-examination every month. Due to changes in the breasts during the menstrual cycle, it is recommended to self-test approximately 2 days after the end of bleeding.

After the menopause, self-examination may be performed once a month, e.g. on the first Saturday. Self-examination can be done in front of a mirror or in the shower, as it is easier to feel the changes on soapy skin. You need to assess whether the breasts and nipples have changed their shape. After squeezing the nipples, you should check that no discharge is leaking from them. During the examination, gently pressing with three middle fingers makes tiny circles around the breast looking for lumps or lumps. You should not forget about the armpits, regularly checking that the lymph nodes are not enlarged and there are no lumps.

Who can use the program
The program is addressed to women aged 50-69 (in annual terms) who have not used a mammogram in the last 24 months and to those who have received a written indication for a further mammogram after 12 months.The reason for re-examination may be risk factors: breast cancer among family members (in mother, sister or daughter) and mutations in the BRCA 1 and / or BRCA 2 genes.Mammography is free of charge and does not require a referral. A woman can apply for it alone or after receiving an invitation.Previously taken mammograms should be brought to the examination for comparison.