Early detection of cancer saves lives

Graphic showing early detection window before cancer has spread significantlyWith cancer, there is an early period where treatment has a high rate of success, if the cancer is detected in this stage. However, this is also prior to any visible symptoms, making diagnosis by traditional means difficult at best.

Yet, if the cancer can be detected in this period, treatment stands a chance to be much more successful than if the cancer is not treated until a later stage. The curves in the graphic show 4 types of cancer and the decreasing survival rate when diagnosis and treatment takes place at a later stage.

The black line shows prostate cancer, which can be successfully diagnosed and treated even at a later stage. That however is rare. The other extreme is the green line, showing pancreatic cancer. With this cancer, the survival rate goes down quickly and already in stage 1, the prognosis is not good. But if this cancer was detected during the early period, before any symptoms, the treatment survival rate goes up drastically.

Lung cancer (purple line) and ovarian cancer (red line) fall between the extremes. Even so, we see that the rate of survival drops significantly, the more the cancer progresses before it is detected.

In short, if cancer can be detected before it even shows symptoms, treatment can be applied earlier and the rate of survival goes up. That makes early screening a win-win proposition.

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