Cancer Diagnosis and Early Detection

If you can't prevent cancer, the next best thing you can do to protect your health is to detect it early. Recognizing symptoms, getting regular check-ups, and performing self-exams are just a few ways you can do this.

Any of these symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious, health problems. If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider.

Breast Cancer

  • Lump or swelling in breast or underarm area
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Nipple pain or retractions
  • Redness or scaliness of nipple or breast skin
  • Discharge other than breast milk.

Breast cancer can be diagnosed with any of the following tests and procedures:

  • Breast exams to feel for lumps
  • Mammogram
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Biopsy
  • Breast MRI

Learn more about breast health services and resources available at Fisher-Titus Women's Health and learn more about breast imaging including screening mammograms at Fisher-Titus.

Cervical Cancer

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Bleeding may start and stop between regular menstrual periods or it may occur after sexual intercourse, douching, or a pelvic exam
  • Menstrual bleeding may last longer and be heavier than usual
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Regular screenings can help detect cervical cancer early. Most guidelines recommend regular screenings starting at age 21. A Pap test is the most common screening. During a Pap test, the doctor will scrape and brush cells from your cervix to be examined in a lab for abnormalities.

Learn more about Fisher-Titus Women’s Health and schedule your annual exam with a Pap test.

Colon and Rectum Cancer

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Cramping pain in lower abdomen

Colon and rectum cancer screenings include:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Stool tests
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • CT Colonography

Learn more about Fisher-Titus Digestive Health.

Lung and Bronchus Cancer

  • Persistent cough
  • Recurring pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Chest pain, often aggravated by deep breathing
  • Weight Loss or loss of appetite
  • Bloody or rust-colored spit or phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing or hoarseness

Individuals who have a 20 pack-year (one pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for ten years) or more smoking history, smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 50 and 80 years old can be screened for lung cancer with a low-dose CT scan. Talk to your doctor if you think you may qualify for lung cancer screening

Prostate Cancer

  • Need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting to urinate or holding back urine
  • Inability to urinate
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Pain in pelvic bone, spine, hips, or ribs

Screening for prostate cancer may include:

  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE)

Learn more about Fisher-Titus Urology.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer

A simple ABCD rule outlines warning signals of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry – one half of a mole does not match the other half
  • Border irregularity – edges are ragged, notched, or blurred
  • Color – pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown, or black
  • Diameter greater than 6 millimeters – any sudden or progressive increase in size should be of concern

Talk to your doctor if you have a mole or skin marking that you are concerned about.

Learn More

The American Cancer Society provides basic information about cancer, such as what it is and how it forms, as well as the signs and symptoms of the disease.

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