There are a lot of scary illnesses out there, but cancer is likely the most well-known. And there's a reason why — cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
It’s so prevalent and far-reaching that most people know at least one person touched by the illness. And nearly 40% of people will receive a diagnosis themselves at some point during their lifetime.
These statistics are frightening, but it’s important to note that not all forms of cancer are the same. On top of that, you can treat many cancer types successfully when they’re detected early.
Dr. Adepero Okulaja believes quality health care should be accessible, low cost, and in the best interest of each patient. That’s why she offers personalized medical services as an independent internal medicine practitioner at The Doctor’s House in Edina, Minnesota, including early cancer screenings.
It may not be possible to control whether or not you get cancer, but early detection can increase your chances of beating it — especially these common forms.
Breast cancer is more common in women, but it can also occur in men. Regardless of your gender, breast cancer has a 99%-100% five-year survival rate when it’s detected early and is still in the localized stage.
Doing regular monthly self-breast exams can help you detect changes as soon as they appear, such as:
However, like many cancers, breast cancer signs are often invisible or unnoticeable in the earliest stages. That makes preventive care screenings, like clinical breast exams and mammograms, essential for early detection.
Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells begin growing and dividing uncontrollably at the entrance to the womb — or the narrow part at the lower end of the uterus. Each year, over 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer get diagnosed in the United States, and the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes most of them.
Because this cancer rarely causes symptoms in the earliest stages, regular Pap tests or cervical smears play a crucial role in diagnosing the disease so you can take early action to treat it. The CDC also recommends the HPV vaccine as protection from the virus.
Next to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer to affect men involves the prostate. In fact, an estimated 1 in 8 will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. But there’s good news.
Prostate cancer typically grows very slowly or not at all. It’s also highly treatable — if it requires treatment at all. Despite this good news, prostate cancer is still very serious and can be fatal, so early detection is key.
In most cases, the best ways to catch prostate cancer early involve prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal exams (DREs). Dr. Okulaja can make personalized recommendations to protect your prostate based on your health and medical history.
While most cancers are difficult to detect in the early stages, melanoma comes with an advantage — it’s often easier to spot a problem because it involves your skin.
In the United States, 1 in 5 people develops skin cancer by age 70. There are different forms of this disease, but melanoma is the most serious because it often spreads. If this occurs, it can be difficult to treat and may become life-threatening.
However, 99% of all skin cancer cases are curable when diagnosed and treated early. The easiest way to do this? Check your skin monthly; if you see something new, unusual, or changing, get it checked. You can also protect yourself by scheduling professional skin exams each year, or more often if you’re at risk.
These are just a few forms of cancer that are often curable with early detection. Dr. Okulaja offers the latest advances in multi-cancer testing to help improve the long-term health of those in her care.
To learn more about cancer detection and which routine screenings should be part of your prevention plan, contact The Doctor’s House to schedule a consultation with Dr. Okulaja today.