Your body has an incredible ability to communicate with you, often alerting you when something doesn't feel quite right. Whether it's a persistent pain, an unusual symptom, or simply a gut feeling that something is off, paying attention to these signals is crucial for maintaining your health and well-being. In such situations, seeking prompt medical attention from a qualified doctor can make all the difference. This article highlights the importance of seeing a doctor when you suspect something might be wrong and why it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Early detection improves prognosis One of the most significant reasons to consult a doctor when you have concerns about your health is the potential for early detection of serious conditions. Many illnesses and diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular problems, and chronic conditions, can manifest with subtle warning signs. By visiting a doctor promptly, you increase the likelihood of catching potential issues in their early stages, when they are often more treatable and have better prognoses. Accurate diagnosis and treatment When you try to self-diagnose or rely on unreliable sources, you run the risk of misidentifying your symptoms or underestimating their severity. Only a trained healthcare professional can conduct a thorough examination, review your medical history, and order appropriate tests to provide an accurate diagnosis. Timely and accurate diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Without it, you may delay necessary interventions or resort to ineffective remedies, potentially exacerbating the problem and jeopardizing your health. Prevention and proactive healthcare Regular check-ups and preventive care are essential for maintaining optimal health. Even if you feel fine, routine medical visits allow doctors to monitor your well-being, identify potential risk factors, and suggest necessary lifestyle modifications to prevent future health issues. By seeing a doctor when you suspect something is wrong, you actively engage in proactive healthcare, prioritizing prevention rather than waiting for a crisis to occur. Prevention is not only more cost-effective but also leads to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life in the long run. Professional guidance and peace of mind Navigating the vast sea of medical information available on the internet can be overwhelming and misleading. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment based on unverified sources can lead to unnecessary anxiety or inadequate care. Consulting a doctor provides you with expert guidance based on years of medical education and experience. A healthcare professional can help alleviate your concerns, provide accurate information, and offer appropriate treatment options, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are in capable hands. A holistic approach to health Doctors are not just there to treat specific ailments; they are also trained to consider the bigger picture of your overall health and well-being. When you seek medical attention, a doctor will assess your symptoms within the context of your medical history, lifestyle, and personal circumstances. They can identify underlying factors that may contribute to your symptoms and provide comprehensive care that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional needs. This holistic approach can help you achieve optimal health and prevent future health issues. Final thoughts When you sense that something is wrong with your body, it's crucial not to ignore the signs or rely solely on self-diagnosis. Seeking medical attention from a qualified doctor is a prudent decision that can save lives, lead to accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatments, facilitate preventive care, provide professional guidance, and ensure a holistic approach to your well-being. Remember, your health is too precious to gamble with, so trust your instincts, prioritize your well-being, and make that appointment with a doctor when you suspect something might be wrong. Your future self will thank you. At France Surgery, we can help you get a second opinion from our network of medical experts in France. Contact us today to find out more. *Image by Max from Pixabay
Most people only see their doctor when they are sick. This is referred to as ‘diagnostic care’ and it usually involves your physician running tests and carrying out examinations to determine what’s wrong with you. As its name suggests, preventative care, on the other hand, focuses on helping you stay as healthy as possible. It does so primarily through regular physical examinations or check ups, which can often identify a range of medical issues before they develop into something more major. Examples of preventative care The concept of preventative care is all about being proactive rather than reactive. This means taking advantage of the resources and services that are available to you to help avoid more serious medical problems going forward. Examples of preventative care include: – Annual physical examination or check up – Laboratory and screening tests carried out during a check up – Yearly flu shots – Routine vaccinations – Yearly mammograms (usually for women 40 and older) – Colonoscopy (usually one every 10 years for those 50 and older) The benefits of preventative care As we’ve already mentioned, preventative care is designed to identify any potential health issues early on before they become a more serious problem. Doing so affords a number of benefits, including: – Better prognosis (this is especially true for certain cancers) – Greater treatment responses – Lower healthcare costs – Overall peace of mind for you While preventative care is important for everyone, it can be particularly beneficial for those who have a family history of certain conditions. Your physician will take this into account during any regular examinations you have, tailoring your tests to look for specific issues. Preventive care costs Depending on the type of insurance you have, preventative care is often 100% covered. However, if you’re in any doubt, it’s always best to contact your insurance provider in the first instance. If preventative care is indeed covered by your insurance, taking advantage really is something that shouldn’t require much thought. The benefits are numerous and the peace of mind you can afford from doing so is priceless. *image courtesy of batian lu from Pixabay
For stroke patients, receiving treatment as soon as possible is vital. The shorter time between the stroke and treatment, the less chance there is of serious damage to the patient’s brain. That’s why fast diagnosis of a stroke is so important for the patient’s overall prognosis. But vascular neurologists, the clinicians most called upon to check stroke patients, are often in short supply and high demand. As a result, they cannot always see every suspected stroke patient as quickly as perhaps liked. The answer has been to utilise telemedicine and this is something neurologists have been doing for more than three decades. By taking advantage of audio-visual platforms, neurologists can assess suspected stroke patients quickly. If the patient is displaying signs of a stroke, they can be given life-saving treatment, consisting of administering tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-dissolving drug first developed for treating heart attacks, which was then fine-tuned for strokes in the early 1990s. The success of tPA, however, lies in administering it as quickly as possible, to counter the effect of blood loss to the brain. A 2016 study highlights the impact of telehealth for stroke patients. According to Kaiser Permanente’s study, involving more than 2,500 patients treated for stroke symptoms between 2013 and 2015 in its 14-hospital network in southern California, a 75% increase was witnessed in the timely use of tPA after a telehealth consult. Patients receiving a telehealth consult were given a diagnostic imaging test 12 minutes sooner than those who didn’t, and tPA was administered 11 minutes sooner. Overall, the door-to-needle time was reduced to less than an hour. *Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Male breast cancer is pretty rare. In fact, it accounts for just 1% of all breast cancer cases. That’s why very few studies have looked at what factors can lead to more positive outcomes for patients. To address this reality, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have conducted one of the largest male breast cancer studies to date, the findings of which are published in the journal Cancer. The researchers found that 51% of male breast cancer diagnoses occurred between the ages of 50 and 69, and that the average age of diagnosis was 64. In fact, only 15% of the patients were diagnosed before the age of 50. Interestingly, the study authors found that black men, older patients, individuals with other ongoing health issue and those with higher tumor grade and stage had poorer prognoses. Furthermore, they found that patients who underwent a full mastectomy also had poorer outcomes. The prognosis was better for patients who lived in wealthier areas, whose tumors carried the progesterone receptor and men who received radiation therapy, chemotherapy or anti-estrogen therapy. While female breast cancer treatment has improved dramatically over the years, the study authors say it is unclear whether these advancements have been applied to the management of male breast cancer too. Two of the reasons for this are because male breast cancer usually occurs later in life and it commonly spreads to the person’s lymph nodes. The researchers hope their paper will shine some more light on this little known condition and lead to better outcomes for patients going forward.
Ovarian cancer treatment is much more effective if it’s administered during the early stages of the disease. In fact, when ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, approximately 94% of patients have a good prognosis post-treatment. However, the reality is that relatively few cases (about 20%) of ovarian cancer are diagnosed early, which makes treatment less effective. But a newly developed blood test could change this. Beyong a full pelvic exam, medical professionals, at present, have two options when it comes to testing for ovarian cancer: a transvaginal ultrasound and a cancer antigen 125 (CA 125) blood test. Unfortunately, both have significant limitations. For example, while the ultrasound can detect growths, it cannot determine whether they are cancerous. The CA 125 test looks for a specific ovarian cancer marker, but people with unrelated conditions also have high levels of this particular antigen. These limitations of the existing tests are one of the driving forces behind the development of the new blood test. The new test, developed by a team from Griffith University and the University of Adelaide (both in Australia), looks for telltale sugars associated with ovarian cancer cells. According to the findings of the team’s study, the new blood test detected large levels of the sugars in 90% of people with stage 1 ovarian cancer and 100% of people with later stage ovarian cancer. Moreover, the test detected none of the telltale sugars in healthy participants. Prof. James Paton, one of the study authors, said the test is a huge step toward diagnosing ovarian cancer in its early stages. “Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages, when there are more options for treatment and survival rates are better. Our new test is therefore a potential game-changer,” he said.
Patients with aggressive brain tumours could benefit from improved surgery outcomes by drinking a substance that makes their cancer glow pink, a trial suggests. For the trial, scientists gave patients with suspected glioma (a type of tumor that occurs in the brain and spinal cord) a drink containing 5-ALA, a substance that accumulates in fast-growing cancer cells and makes them glow pink. The hope is that the glowing tumours will be easier for surgeons to safely remove, as they can be more easily distinguished from healthy brain tissue. Glioma is the most common type of brain cancer and treatment usually involves removing as much of the tumour as possible. The prognosis for patients, however, is usually poor. Speaking about the trial, Dr Kathreena Kurian, study author and associate professor in brain tumour research at the University of Bristol, said: “There's an urgent need to have something while the patient is on the table, while the neurosurgeon is operating, which will guide them to find the worst bits. “The beauty of 5-ALA is that they can see where high-grade glioma is, while they're operating.” The results of the trial have not yet been published, but were presented at the 2018 NCRI Cancer Conference in Glasgow over the weekend. The next step, the researchers say, is to test 5-ALA in children with brain tumours.
Overweight or obese women may not detect cancerous breast lumps until they are much larger and more difficult to treat, a Swedish study has found. Researchers from the Karolinksa Institute studied more than 2,000 women who developed breast cancer between 2001 and 2008, all of who had been receiving mammograms every 18 months to two years, as is standard in Sweden. They found that women with higher body mass indexes (BMIs) were more likely to have a larger tumour when detected than women who were slimmer. Lead author of the study, Fredrik Strand, said this was either because the tumours were harder to detect because overweight women have larger breasts or because their tumours grew faster. Women who are overweight are already at greater risk of developing breast cancer and, unfortunately, larger tumours carry a worse prognosis. Therefore, these women may need more frequent mammograms to help spot tumours early, say the researchers. Women who are judged to be at greater risk of developing breast cancer – such as those with a family history – are already offered more frequent screening. Speaking about the findings of the study, Strand said: “Our study suggests that when a clinician presents the pros and cons of breast cancer screening to the patient, having high BMI should be an important 'pro' argument”.