The need for continued surveillance of your cancer diagnosis
Posted On February 6, 2023
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Ongoing monitoring is an important part of your treatment plan. Knowing the status of your disease, keeping track of any new symptoms and testing can all help you stay in-sync with your cancer and manage it as best you can. The type of monitoring you receive will depend on several factors including your medical history, current condition and the type of treatment plan you’re undergoing. Some common monitoring procedures include: blood tests to check for signs of infection or other changes in the body; scans such as x-rays or MRIs that give detailed pictures of organs or tissues; and self-monitoring tools to log your own symptoms and keep track of any changes.
What are blood tests used for?
Blood tests are used to check the function of certain organs or systems in the body. They’re often used to check the kidneys, liver and immune system, as well as blood sugar levels and levels of certain minerals. Certain blood tests are also used to monitor the effects of cancer treatment and to detect signs of infection. Your doctor may run various blood tests to look for signs of infection, kidney or liver damage, or other problems. You may have to have this testing more than once if the results aren’t conclusive the first time. Other blood tests are used to check levels of certain proteins, hormones, vitamins and minerals in the body. A blood test may also be used to test the function of certain organs, such as the kidneys or brain.
Scanning for cancer changes
Some cancers may change in size, shape or location over time. This is called metastasis. Cancer cells may even spread to other parts of the body, called distant metastasis. Metastasis might be detected during CT scans or MRIs. The images may show an increased amount of matter in certain areas of the body, such as the liver or lungs, or in the spine. Biopsies may be taken to look more closely at these changes. CT scans are useful for detecting metastasis while they’re still in the early stages. They’re used to look at organs and tissues in three dimensions, so doctors can see any abnormal changes. MRI scans are also useful for detecting metastasis, but they also give detailed images that can show blood vessels, bone and soft tissue.
Self-monitoring tools, or dietary supplements, are used to help people who have cancer track their own symptoms and keep track of any changes in their body. These tools may include daily symptom logs and a blood test reader that can track your own blood test results. You may be able to use these tools at home, especially when you’re going through treatment that requires close monitoring. Although self-monitoring tools aren’t a replacement for regular doctor visits, they can help you stay in-sync with your disease process and manage it as best you can.
What is an MRI used for?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or MRI) is a medical imaging technique that produces detailed images of the body. The images can show detailed images of organs, tissues and blood flow. A typical MRI scan might be done in a hospital or outpatient imaging center. The machine uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to create images of the body. Though most people experience little to no discomfort during an MRI, people who have had previous MRIs may feel claustrophobic or anxious in a confined space, even if they’re just sitting in the machine. If you’re worried about this, you may be able to talk to your doctor about having the scan done elsewhere, such as at a nearby imaging center.
How do scans detect cancer changes?
Scans are often used to detect changes in the lining of the lungs, liver, brain or other organs. Sometimes, a scan will be done after a biopsy has been taken. This allows the scan to show any metastasis, which is abnormal growth of cancer cells in other parts of the body. A scan may also be done to look for cancer that hasn’t yet shown any signs of change. These scans are called screening tests. They’re used to detect any early disease or changes in the body that might be precursors to cancer. Screening tests are most effective if they’re performed regularly, such as at age 45. The longer you’re between screenings, the less likely it is that you’ll find a cancerous tumor.
Self-testing dietary supplements
Many dietary supplements can help you monitor your disease and improve your overall health. Some dietary supplements are used to test for a genetic mutation that can lead to certain cancers, while others can help you manage any symptoms related to your disease. A daily dietary supplement, such as an herbal formula or a multivitamin, can help you monitor your symptoms, track how your disease is progressing and help boost your immunity.
Cancer Surveillance can be a confusing and difficult process. With proper support and communication, your experience may be much less challenging. Cancer Surveillance is vital to your health and well-being. You can do several things to ensure the best experience possible. These include: Keeping a detailed medical record – A medical record is your “health passport”. It is your source of information and should include your medications, lab results, doctors’ orders and surgical scars. Having a doctor and hospital who are familiar with your disease and its Surveillance components. Understanding your disease and its Surveillance components. Having a Surveillance plan in place. Keeping your medical record and the information it contains up to date. Having access to a good source of information and support while being monitored during Surveillance.
Dr. Ronald Bissell is a retired surgeon, author of 6 books on Personal and Spiritual Growth, writer of numerous articles and facilitator of workshops. He has been giving talks to help people with life-threatening diseases for the past 10 years. After three years of chemotherapy he recently had a bone marrow transplant to treat Multiple Myeloma. His work now involves helping others with life-threatening diseases as well as teaching people how to live their best lives without fear or anxiety.