When you hear the word "cancer," what do you think about? And how do you know what you think you know? Do you think of cancer as a disease of the old or as something that can affect anyone, as a death sentence or as a surmountable twist of fate? When you picture someone with cancer, who are they and where do they live?
These are some thoughts going through my head.
Things have been a whirlwind for me since 22nd February 2018
I had absolutely no symptoms apart from a pulsing belly - turns out I have a 78mm Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
During the many scans at Ninewells Dundee they also found possibility of a kidney tumour.
MRI scan done on 16th March showed that the contained kidney tumour was 8 cm - laparoscopic nephrectomy planned in next 4 weeks (saw Renal Consultant on 17th April) thus enabling vascular surgeons to stent abdominal aortic aneurysm.
I find the greatest change is not being able to drive so have extended my walking considerably and found workarounds for lifting stuff.
Maggie's Centre Fife has been most supportive and helped me realize that these things are outwith my control - not easy for a confirmed control freak who normally wants stuff done right now or sooner!
I've joined the Facebook Kidney Cancer UK closed group https://www.facebook.com/groups/kcuksupportgroup/
For trusted information I look at this page https://patient.info/health/cancer first then the section on kidney cancer.
Cancer has affected mankind since prehistoric time and is just as common in animals, birds and fish. It affects many people and is the most common cause of death after heart disease. It's not yet understood what causes cancer, but there are a number of risk factors which increase the chances of developing it.
Without doubt, the sooner cancer is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chance of cure. Some can be completely cured, if diagnosed early enough.
Therefore, it makes sense to adjust your lifestyle to reduce the chance of contracting cancer, and to be aware of simple self-examination techniques to detect it at an early stage.
The lifestyle risks are:
Smoking (a conclusive cause)
Asbestos (a conclusive cause)
Diet (plenty of fibre reduces risk)
Excessive alcohol consumption
Promiscuous sexual behaviour
There are a number of yet unspecified chemicals in food, water and our environment which are believed to trigger cancer. And it is believed some cancer causing viruses. But, it is known that cancer is hereditary, so check the occurrence of cancer in your family. The risks increase dramatically with age, so make self-examination part of your life. Self-examination is covered thoroughly in its own section. However, the golden rule is be familiar with your own body and examine yourself every month to look for changes. Cancer develops in organs, so check them carefully, look for bumps, swelling, etc. Notice skin changes and keep an eye on any moles and skin blemishes.
These are the major body warning signs:
Coughing up blood
Persistent cough or hoarseness (difficulty swallowing)
Change in shape or size of testes. Checkemlads website
Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
Passing blood with urine/faeces
Change in bowel or bladder habits
Unexplained loss of weight
Unexplained persistent abdominal pain
Unexplained persistent tiredness
A sore that does not heal (especially on hands or face, which are more exposed to sun)
Bleeding or discharge from nipples
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Blemish or mole that enlarges, bleeds or itches
As well as self-examination, it makes sense to discuss with your doctor what local screening services are available.
Screening, or testing, for certain types of cancer dramatically aid early detection, often before the person experiences any symptoms. More information about haematuria (blood in urine) can be found on the Patient UK web site >> http://patient.info/doctor/haematuria-pro.
Every two years, Bob Steele sends a present to every Scot between the ages of 50 and 74. Inside the small package there’s a letter and a strip of thick card with three door-like flaps on top. Bob explains what to do – and this usually leads to first-time recipients shaking their heads and saying out loud, “you’re serious ?”.
It is the University of Dundee Bowel Screening Program - it is simple quick and non-invasive. I do it and suggest you do too!!
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