Are you young, ambitious, but constantly afraid of the Big C – Cancer?
Just 2 months ago I was doing a self-examination and bingo- I felt a small lump. Last week, I finally did an ultrasound and in the following days I will receive my results. I am 23, and have just came back from a year in Sweden immersing myself in her vibrant entrepreneurial scene.
Now, I am just a bundle of nerves. On one hand, I am bursting with ambitions. I am in my last year of my university education and cannot wait to pursue my interests. On the other, I am facing my worst fear- the possibility of having breast cancer.
You see, I have been tracking this disease ever since I witnessed my grandmother suffer from Stage 3 breast cancer. I researched day and night about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, the various tumour-suppressor genes we have in our body, and the different methods hospitals now prescribe to tone down the spread of cancerous cells.
Along the years, my paranoia about contracting cancer went up tremendously when two of my aunts, who were my grandmother’s daughters, were also diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent the dreaded chemotherapy.
This meant one thing- that there is a high possibility I inherited the genetic mutation.
If you happen to be a worried young individual out there, or if you are facing the exact struggle I am having, join me as I explore the various options in possibly resolving your paranoia at the different stages of cancer discovery.
1. Self-Examination: Smartphones and their Applications
Like all doctors would advise, it is always the best that one conduct self-checks as frequent as one can in terms of cancer detection as you are most familiar with your body. With the advent of the smartphone, it seems that everything can be made into a mobile app. The complexity herein lies with the proper usage of apps that deal with real-life situations and the awareness of users on the accuracy of such apps, as well as how they should be used to the best of its purpose.
These, however, are surprisingly still appealing to the masses despite their low accuracy in predictions. One main reason is because of the appeal of time saved from waiting for an appointment at the doctor’s for a good diagnosis.
Perhaps more effort should be placed instead into making appointment booking at the hospitals to be more efficient, or, maybe the pessimist in us just needs someone, something, to tell us that there is nothing invasive happening in our bodies?
2. Seeking Immediate Consultation: Portable Healthcare Deliveries
One thing for sure, many innovators are starting to identify with such a need for quick and reliable diagnoses with startups such as HealthSpot, a platform which connects users to a doctor via a telemedicine kiosk to get an immediate consultation, sprouting up in the health technology market.
Below is a video by Mashable on the potentiality of HealthSpot:
Innovations like HealthSpot allow for cost effectiveness, convenience, and ease of access to quality healthcare. Especially in the area of cancer detection, such implementations possess immense potential in early cancer discovery that cuts away the arduous waiting time many patients are caught helpless with.
3. Cancer Detection: Advanced Treatments
In recent years, we know that there has been an explosion in medical advances, especially in the area of effective cancer treatments. All these bring new hopes and excitement in beating this disease. It is even more assuring now that doctors are embracing the need to innovate especially when litigation issues come into play.
One example of recent cancer-treating technology is the Linear Accelerator, a computerised machine that allow doctors to deliver controlled amounts of radiation to a patient. What is possible with this machine now is its ability to allow the radiographer to adjust the shape as well as the intensity of the beam in accordance to the patient’s tumour and treatment plan.
Just like the linear accelerator, there are aplenty of high-technology equipment available these days, and hospitals are now breaking out of the rut to come up with personalized treatment plans to suit each individual’s biological, mental, and social needs and thresholds.
Are we really afraid?
Perhaps the issue at bay now is not one of fear or paranoia, but a matter of expectations. With the burgeoning of technology and a new wave of innovation-embracing society, one cannot help but to think one step further- What happens after treatment? Will the disease be back? Does the treatment harm me?
It seems absurd now that we are worrying about the stages after a problem is solved, but in this age of science and technology, perhaps the only healthy way to live our lives is to demolish the pessimist in us and never, ever, lose hope in the future.
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