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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Discuss Lymphoma, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby willamar » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:07 am

For example: breast cancer or lymphoma. How long will it take for a person to notice symptoms? At that point is it to late?
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby cedric52 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:09 am

Depending on the size of the tumor or how fast it grows. Normally, there are no outward symptoms of breast cancer nor pain. doing self exams around 40 yrs old or starting at 35 is normal. Mammograms usually depend on family history. If you have a strong history, the Dr will recommend a mammogram starting at age 35. The mammogram is the best way to find a tumor, even one to small for feel for. That's why they are so important and your best tool for detecting breast cancer. It doesn't normally strike any woman until she is post menopausal. It's rare for anyone under 35 to even have a tumor. But, never take chances. If you are scared, or feel you have something to worry about, then please as your Dr. Most women who begin to have their mammograms when the Dr says and has them yearly, will find the cancer if they have it. Like I said, it's your best diagnostic tool then the biopsy follows. So if you keep your appointments, there's not much chance of breast cancer going undetected. Blessings.
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby jonni » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:19 am

Depending on the size of the tumor or how fast it grows. Normally, there are no outward symptoms of breast cancer nor pain. doing self exams around 40 yrs old or starting at 35 is normal. Mammograms usually depend on family history. If you have a strong history, the Dr will recommend a mammogram starting at age 35. The mammogram is the best way to find a tumor, even one to small for feel for. That's why they are so important and your best tool for detecting breast cancer. It doesn't normally strike any woman until she is post menopausal. It's rare for anyone under 35 to even have a tumor. But, never take chances. If you are scared, or feel you have something to worry about, then please as your Dr. Most women who begin to have their mammograms when the Dr says and has them yearly, will find the cancer if they have it. Like I said, it's your best diagnostic tool then the biopsy follows. So if you keep your appointments, there's not much chance of breast cancer going undetected. Blessings.
It depends on the type of cancer, but in a lot of cases cancer can be in late stages (spread around the body) before symptoms become really serious. With both breast cancer and lymphoma, the most common early symptoms are small, swollen lumps. In lymphoma, the lumps are swollen lymph nodes, and they're most common in the groin, the armpits, or the neck.

Once the cancer spreads, symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats (waking up with the sheets drenched) can start appearing. However, how long these take to appear really depends on the type of cancer. For example, some types of lymphoma grow really fast (in a few months), but others take years to spread.

Basically, if you have some lumps you can't explain, especially if they're large, growing, or feel hard you should tell your doctor about them. Lumps are almost never cancer, especially in young people, but when you catch cancer early, you can usually cure it.
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby lucila » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:21 am

You are asking about 2 completely different diseases.
Breast cancer takes about 2 years before it is large enough to be seen on mammogram, so it could take 3-4 years before a lump is felt depending on the location.
I’m not sure how long one can have lymphoma before symptoms occur, but it will often respond to antibiotics and appear to be an infection at first. However, it should not take a doctor longer than a couple of months form the onset of symptoms to diagnose it provided the patient follows up timely.
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby okes » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:28 am

That's a very complex question. Most of us carry a few cancer cells around with us all the time, but our immune system finds them and kills them before they progress. That's one reason immune-suppressed individuals are more prone to cancer and why the rare cancer Kaposi's sarcoma appears in end-stage AIDS patients. It's not that AIDS causes KS, but that their immune systems cannot fight off the cancer the way a healthy person's can.

There are also some forms of cancer, like non-aggressive prostate cancer, which grow so slowly that many doctors advise patients to watch and wait rather than treat the disease. They know the patient will likely grow old and die of something else before the cancer causes a problem.

A rarer situation is something that happened to a friend of mine. His left leg started to swell, and when he had it checked he was found to have very advanced melanoma. He's still fighting, and for the moment doing well. The doctors have not been able to detect the original mole. They finally concluded that it might have come from a mole he had removed twenty-three years ago. His body may have fought it off for all those years, then faltered and it spread.

As for when it's too late, that varies by cancer and by patient. One person might die of a cancer found early, one might survive the most aggressive and advanced cancer. Of course, early detection is better, as is keeping yourself healthy. Your body is working hard even when you can't tell.
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby chayne » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:32 am

it depends on the type of cancer, ususally in cancers such as colon or any gyne cancer (such as cervial, ovarian, urterine, etc), pancreatic, lung, once you have symptoms it is too late. Lymphoma is funny because it is such a currable disease even at a stage 4, especially non hodgkins. It depends on the tumor how long it takes to notice symptoms. That is why it is so important to go for your screenings!
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How many years can someone go with having cancer undetected?

Postby caomh » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:34 am

it depends on the type of cancer, ususally in cancers such as colon or any gyne cancer (such as cervial, ovarian, urterine, etc), pancreatic, lung, once you have symptoms it is too late. Lymphoma is funny because it is such a currable disease even at a stage 4, especially non hodgkins. It depends on the tumor how long it takes to notice symptoms. That is why it is so important to go for your screenings!
This is a tough question.

We don't always know how long cancer tumors have been developing.

All we can be sure of is that it has developed from undetectable to detectable between the previous check up and when it is detected.

If you have regular (annual) check ups, than this should be within a year of it developing.
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