November Cancer Awareness

November Cancer Awareness Events

November is home to several cancer awareness events, including lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer. These cancers affect millions of Americans every year and are unique in their symptoms and treatment. Here are the health and cancer awareness events in November. 

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a malignant lung tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. This growth can spread beyond the lung by the process of metastasis into nearby tissue or other parts of the body. The most common symptoms are coughing (including coughing up blood), weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pains. The vast majority (85%) of cases of lung cancer are due to long-term tobacco smoking. About 10–15% of cases occur in people who have never smoked. Treatment and long-term outcomes depend on the type of cancer, the stage (degree of spread), and the person’s overall health. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

To be diagnosed with lung cancer, patients are often prescribed a chest radiograph or a CT scan. A chest radiograph is one of the first investigative steps if a person reports symptoms that may be suggestive of lung cancer. This may reveal an obvious mass, the widening of the mediastinum, lung collapse, or pneumonia. CT imaging of the chest may reveal a spiculated mass which is highly suggestive of lung cancer

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas, an organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancerous cells have the ability to invade other parts of the body. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma which accounts for about 90% of cases. Signs and symptoms of the most common form of pancreatic cancer may include yellow skin, abdominal or back pain, unexplained weight loss, and loss of appetite. Usually, no symptoms are seen in the disease’s early stages, and symptoms that are specific enough to suggest pancreatic cancer typically do not develop until the disease has reached an advanced stage. 

Medical imaging techniques, such as computed tomography (CT scan) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) are used both to confirm the diagnosis and to help decide whether the tumor can be surgically removed. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) may also be used. 

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that develops from the lining of the stomach. Early symptoms may include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. Later signs and symptoms may include weight loss, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and blood in the stool among others. Cancer may spread from the stomach to other parts of the body, particularly the liver, lungs, bones, lining of the abdomen, and lymph nodes. Diagnosis is usually by biopsy done during endoscopy. This is followed by medical imaging to determine if the disease has spread to other parts of the body.

Imaging tests may be used to help diagnose and stage stomach cancer. CT scans are taken to reveal detailed images of the abdomen. These tests help doctors determine where the cancer is in the stomach and whether it has spread to other abdominal organs. MRI may help doctors stage stomach cancer. MRIs use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images. These tests also allow for greater soft tissue contrast than a CT scan. PET scans also help doctors determine the stage of the disease and whether it has spread. Ultrasounds may be used if fluid is found in the abdomen. Ultrasound produces images of organs from high-energy sound waves and echoes. It may also be used to check for tumors that have spread to other organs.

National Family Caregiver Month

Caregiver Action Network (the National Family Caregivers Association) began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994. President Clinton signed the first NFC Month Presidential Proclamation in 1997 and every president since has followed suit by issuing an annual proclamation recognizing and honoring family caregivers each November. 

Families are the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S. Many caregivers work and also provide care, experiencing conflicts between competing responsibilities. Research indicates caregiving also takes a significant emotional, physical, and financial toll. With nearly half of all caregivers over age 50, many are vulnerable to a decline in their own health. Studies show that coordinated support services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress, and enable them to provide care longer, which avoids or delays the need for costly institutional care.

The national observance is spearheaded by Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit that provides free education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers. CAN announced the 2020 theme, #CaregivingInCrisis, highlighting new realities that family caregivers and their loved ones face during these uncertain times.

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.

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