Cancer CenterDiagnosing Cancer
Reid Cancer Center is dedicated to providing accurate, timely diagnostic services, as well as the care patients and families need for the journey ahead.
Screenings can help detect cancer early, long before symptoms appear. Early detection sometimes leads to a more successful outcome, in part because the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Early diagnosis is particularly important for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, skin and colon and rectum.
The Reid Cancer Center team recommends that patients follow American Cancer Society recommendations for specific screenings. They also encourage people to be aware of early warning signs. These can include lumps, sores that fail to heal, abnormal bleeding, persistent indigestion and chronic hoarseness. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
The American Cancer Society recommends the following screenings to help detect cancer early. Your doctor may recommend a different screening schedule depending on your personal cancer risks and health history.
- Women should have a yearly mammogram starting at age 40.
- Women should perform a monthly self-breast exam starting at age 20.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam about every three years and an annual clinical breast exam starting at age 40.
- Women with a family history or increased risk of breast cancer should discuss their history and risks with their doctor.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
Beginning at age 50, everyone should have:
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or a double contrast barium enema every five years or a CT colonoscopy every five years or a colonoscopy every 10 years.
- A yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test. These tests are performed by the patient at home and can be purchased at a pharmacy. Reid Hospital offers a take-home testing kit. For information, call Oncology Support at (765) 983-3344.
Those with a personal or strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps should be followed more closely, as should those with a history of chronic inflammatory bowel syndrome.
- Pap tests should begin within three years of a woman’s first vaginal intercourse but no later than 21 years of age.
- If by the age of 30 a woman has had three normal pap test results, she may be screened every two to three years.
- Women with certain risk factors, abnormalities or concerns should be screened yearly.
Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. Men should discuss the pros and cons with their doctor, starting at age 50 (at age 40-45 for those with a higher risk of prostate cancer).
- Screening can include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
For information, please contact us or talk to your primary care physician about scheduling a screening.
Upcoming Screenings and Events
Check out Reid’s calendar of events for all upcoming cancer related screenings and events.
A diagnosis of cancer is scary. It can come as a shock, leaving you feeling anxious and even alone. However, you have good reasons to be optimistic. Medicine has made, and continues to make, great strides in treating cancer and in making cancer treatment more tolerable, both physically and emotionally.
By becoming informed about your diagnosis and your treatment options, you can begin to take control of the journey ahead. At Reid Cancer Center, our team is committed to providing you with the support you need. We hope you will regard our physicians, nurses and other care professionals as part of your support team.
Cancer Health Information
The Reid Hospital website offers extensive information about preventing, detecting and treating cancer in its cancer prevention section. This area of the Reid Cancer Center website provides an overview.
Introduction to cancer treatment
The goal of treatment is to cure or control the cancer, as well as reduce any symptoms you may be having. The type of treatment you will receive depends on the type of cancer, the stage of your disease, the symptoms you are experiencing and your overall health.
There are many different ways to treat cancer. Your doctor and health care team will explain the choices to you. They will help you understand how your treatment may benefit you.
Treatment choices may include the following:
- Chemotherapy: The use of drugs to treat cancer.
- Radiation Therapy: The use of high-energy X-rays or radioactive seeds to treat cancer.
- Surgery: The physical removal of the tumor or cancer.
- Biological therapy/immunotherapy: The use of the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells.
- Hormonal therapy: The use of hormones to stimulate a response in the body to fight cancer.
- Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation: Involves using high doses of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to kill the cancer, then putting healthy bone marrow or stem cells into the body. The bone marrow or stem cells can come from you (autologous) or from a matched donor (allogeneic). The transfusion or transplant is given to allow your immune system and bone marrow to recover.
- Clinical Trials: Patient-oriented research studies that use new medication or a new combination of medications and radiation therapy to treat the cancer.
Meet your cancer navigators
When patients are diagnosed with cancer, they often feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to process information about their illness. At Reid Cancer Center, our cancer navigators can help. These caring nurses provide support for patients and their families throughout every phase of treatment, at no additional cost.
The Reid cancer navigators are Brenda Bowman, Jill Miller, and Dianne Bailey. They can:
- Answer questions about your treatment plan
- Suggest support services
- Help you find ways to take charge of your own recovery
- Help set up doctor appointments
- Make sure you have transportation to and from the hospital
- And much more
Brenda, Jill and Dianne also provide patients with a comprehensive binder called “Your Cancer Care Guide,” which includes everything from self-care tips and a list of local support groups to information about financial assistance.
Brenda, who has worked as a nurse since 1979, joined Reid Hospital in 2006 as a cancer navigator. Jill has been with Reid since 2004 and joined the navigator team in 2012. Dianne has been a nurse at Reid since 1981 and joined the navigators in 2012.
Some patients rely heavily on their cancer navigator, while others call only occasionally for help. Whatever your needs, the cancer navigators are there to help.
Taking Charge of your Health
Taking charge of your health is vitally important for everyone, and especially for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. While you cannot control the outcome of your cancer journey, you can be a proactive, educated cancer patient. Taking charge can:
- Make the difference between feeling hopeless and feeling hopeful.
- Provide stability and a feeling of control.
- Increase your confidence level by helping you face new challenges.
- Build your network of support, since taking charge requires you to ask questions and, in some cases, ask for help.
- Help you make informed decisions.
Another way to feel more in control during your cancer treatment is to take good care of yourself by:
- Staying connected to your support systems.
- Remembering to tell your friends and family what you need.
- Exercising regularly.
- Setting priorities that are appropriate for your energy level.
- Eating properly.
- Resting when you need it.
- Keeping your sense of humor whenever possible.
What is Cancer
Cancer is not one disease, but many diseases that occur in different areas of the body. Each type of cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells.
Under normal conditions, the body controls cell reproduction very carefully. But when malfunctions occur, normal cells grow or divide too quickly or forget how to die. This can result in the development of a lump, mass or tumor, or the circulation of cancerous cells throughout the body.