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The Benefits of Early Cancer Detection

    The Benefits of Early Cancer Detection

    There were over 9.5 million cases of cancer in Asia as of 2020, according to the World Health Organization. This contributes to almost 50% of all 19.3 million cancer cases worldwide. Of this number, almost 5 million cases of breast, cervical, colorectal, and oral cancers may have been detected sooner through cancer early detection screening, and benefited from treatment.

    Although cancer is one of the most significant causes of illness and death worldwide, studies have long shown that early cancer detection, screening, and diagnosis significantly boost patient survival rates and quality of life. Detecting cancer early on also lowers the cost and complexity of cancer treatment.

    Early cancer detection can improve chances of survival and recovery. While government healthcare support can help increase rates of early detection, this starts with you.

    With the right screening tests, doctors can detect many types of cancer at an early stage. And early detection, coupled with the right treatment, gives people a much higher chance of surviving beyond five years. This is in comparison to those who receive a cancer diagnosis at a later stage.

    Early Cancer Detection: How Is It Possible?

    Going through health screenings can help you prevent cancer through early detection. Through these health screenings, doctors can find abnormal cells in the body that do not show symptoms of cancer. At the same time, they can detect cancerous cells before these spread too widely and become difficult to cure.

    While you may think that you do not feel anything unusual going on in your body, it is important to go through regular screening for early cancer detection, especially considering the following factors below.

    Family history. Knowing your family’s medical history is important. Family history is a risk factor for all cancer types. If you know of a relative who has had cancer, then this should urge you to get screened.

    Lifestyle or health conditions. Certain factors such as age and sex, pre-existing health conditions, or lifestyle choices such as smoking should prompt you to get screened regularly for early cancer detection. For example, women can immediately go for mammography testing for breast cancer after reaching age 40. Meanwhile, doctors recommended women 45-54 years to undergo mammography every year, while women 55 and above should get a mammogram every two years.

    Women can also begin undergoing a pap smear test for cervical cancer prevention and detection between ages 21 to 65, every three or five years.

    People at high risk of developing lung cancer — former or current smokers between ages 55 to 74 and have quit in the last 15 years — are also recommended to undergo a low-dose CT scan.

    The Benefits of Detecting Cancer Early

    It reduces the cost of treatment

    Early diagnosis can also significantly reduce the cost of treatment. According to the World Health Organization, an accurate early diagnosis can help detect cancer much earlier. This helps people seek treatment that is generally more effective, less complex, and less expensive. A study on cost-effective cancer interventions in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia such as cervical cancer smear tests, colonoscopy screenings, and mammography screenings found them to be highly cost-effective.

    Not only is the cost of treatment less expensive for early-stage cancer, but people who receive treatment earlier can also continue to work and support their families.

    It increases chances of survival

    Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. But with early detection, a person’s chances of surviving the disease significantly increases. In India, researchers found that among rural women with cervical cancer, 78% of women who were diagnosed at stage I survived beyond five years, compared to 9% who were diagnosed at stage IV.

    Early cancer detection focuses on diagnosing patients as early as possible so they have the best chance for successful treatment. When someone is unable to receive prompt cancer treatment, their chances of surviving cancer become lower. Their treatment costs also rise, and they experience more complex problems. Early diagnosis improves cancer outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage. Therefore it is an important public health strategy in all settings.

    It improves the quality of life

    Early detection of cancer leads to better chances of survival. But the benefits of early cancer detection go beyond that. They are likely to have a better and more stress-free treatment and care experience. They may also experience a better quality of life compared with those diagnosed late who may have more issues and complications with their care plan.

    Learn more about Cancer here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


    All cancers, https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/cancers/39-All-cancers-fact-sheet.pdf, Accessed January 4
    Estimated number of new cases in 2020, worldwide, both sexes, all ages, https://gco.iarc.fr/today/online-analysis-table, Accessed January 4

    Early cancer diagnosis saves lives, cuts treatment costs, https://www.who.int/news/item/03-02-2017-early-cancer-diagnosis-saves-lives-cuts-treatment-costs, Accessed January 4

    Cost effectiveness of strategies to combat breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia: mathematical modelling study, https://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e614, Accessed January 4

    Earlier diagnosis: the importance of cancer symptoms, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(19)30658-8/fulltext, Accessed January 4

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    Written by Samantha Beltran Updated Mar 14
    Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD
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