Living

Is early detection the key to curing cancer?

According to this article in Wired magazine, early detection of cancer is more important than finding a cure.

Why? Because if you catch cancer early, your survival rate is 90 percent. Catch it late, it's 10 percent.

I thought we had caught my cancer early, but now I'm not so sure. I'm not even sure what "early" means. Because I wasn't showing any typical symptoms that would lead one to check for cancer (night sweats, rapid weight loss, no appetite, etc.), I thought I was just lucky that one of my infected lymph nodes happened to break a rib and forced me to go see a doctor.

Now, I'm being told that those symptoms don't always show up, especially in an otherwise healthy and relatively young person. A healthy body can compensate for those symptoms, thus hiding the problem. At least, that's the way I understand it.

I'm now being told that I've had cancer for roughly two years and only just caught it last October. Did I catch it early? Now I don't think so. Did I catch it early enough? I hope so. I'm planning to enjoy a long, cantankerous life.

If I didn't know I had cancer for two years, how do you know you don't have cancer? I'm not necessarily trying to drum up business for the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, but early detection means a higher chance of beating this thing.

My family tree has very little evidence of cancer. My paternal grandmother died of leukemia in 1951, and her cancer was detected late (she was thought to have anemia). Look at your family tree and see what evidence there might be of cancer in your family. Read the Wired article on the new ways of being developed to detect cancer early.

I can tell you from experience that fighting cancer is way harder than preventing it.

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