Dear HCCUA Members:
With staggering numbers of cancer detected in people all around the world, it is important that we take initiative and practice monthly head-to-toe self-examinations on ourselves to increase the chances of spotting cancer early. Detecting cancer at an early stage can save lives.
You may find it helpful to have a doctor do a full-body exam first, to assure any existing spots, freckles, moles or lumps are normal or treat any that may not be. Afterwards, it is wise to familiarize yourself with your own body so you also know what is normal for you. This way you are more likely to notice any changes or patterns that may occur from month to month.
Most of us do get full-body exams during a physical exam maybe once a year, but research has shown that is simply not enough. By performing an exam on yourself monthly, you can detect some cancers before they have had a chance to grow and spread. The goal is to reduce the number of people who develop and die from cancer.
If something is unusual or detected notify your physician right away. They may ask if you are experiencing any pain or symptoms related to your condition and how long you have been experiencing this feeling. The doctor may examine other areas of your body to check for any possible signs of cancer spreading. They might run appropriate testing such as an ultrasound or sometimes send you out of for another specific scan. Keep in mind, all these things very on each person’s situation.
It has been proven that it is beneficial to keep a journal where you can record your emotions, pains, and experiences throughout your process. This creates a small map of your condition(s) for doctors to understand. Also, a tool to reduce stress and promote a range of other physical, emotional and social benefits. Even though it is difficult to explain the exact reason why putting your thoughts down on paper is so effective, it seems this practice allows people to process and express difficult feelings, clarify their goals, figure out a way forward, and better cope with their illness.
As part of your many benefits from being an HCCUA member, Health Advocacy Services is a benefit that can help you navigate the healthcare system and deal with the clinical and administrative issues you can face throughout any illness. We have included as part of your HCCUA e-Newsletter more information on this benefit or you can always call our Member Service line at 1-866-227-5400 for further assistance.
Lastly, we have added a recipe to turn up the heat in the kitchen this Valentine’s Day… Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers from Deelish!!!
Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications