Well, I went to my new doctor to ask him to see if there weren't any tests that could tell the difference between fat and something else, like a tumor. I had always suspected that something was wrong and had asked a previous doctor about that many years earlier -- at that time, he said that it was just fat and that I just needed to lose some weight.
Now, go forward 25+ years and I am losing weight while eating a normal amount of food, doing light exercise (mostly walking EOD); but my stomach seems to be getting bigger every year. I started to have other health problems, which were indeed caused by the tumor -- legs & feet swelling, skin discoloration, circulation problems, numbness & tingling, reproductive problems (miscarriages), high white blood cell count, low iron, nausea, dizziness, and continuing incontinence problems, etc.
So, I walk into the office and the first thing my doctor says is, "Oh my, you have lost a lot of weight; and your face and arms are so skinny. I am concerned that something has been missed -- would you mind if I run some tests?" I laughed and said "Not at all -- that's exactly why I am here. I came to ask if you could help me find out if this belly is really only fat or something else."
And, he took it from there, ordering many tests right away -- starting with the very next day. Interestingly, everyone I talked to (the workers that did the tests) felt there was a massive growth there. Obviously, it was destiny and answered prayers -- becuz I saw all the right people, at the right time to find this tumor. THANK YOU, GOD!!!
They found it in less than a week, which is shocking when you think about it. It was there for over 25 years but they didn't look for anything. If you don't look for something, you won't find it. Before that, they were blinded by their predjudice -- oh, just another fat person with a very fat belly.
However, once my body started losing weight and looked horribly sick, my new doctor decided to do something. I am sure he was hoping he was wrong, but I already knew he would find it. He said that later -- "you almost seemed to expect that." And I said that I had suspected it for many, many years but just didn't want to argue with every doctor I met that it wasn't just fat. My doctor apologized for the other doctors and the system that allows this to happen to too many people.
I have since met and heard from other people who have gone through the same thing as me. In my last chemo room, there were four of us who had been sick for some time and it was missed. Three of us had tumors that were missed!!! The doctors have to be more aggressive in this area, esp since the population is heavier and aging. They cannot continue to assume that everyone with a belly is just fat. Sadly, many of them have tumors that need to be removed sooner rather than later.
Now, that's not including the adjacent chemo room that had 12+ more patients getting chemo that day. I never had a chance to talk to them, but I do know that one man there, who is a friend of my BIL, also had tumors in his lungs. How long he had them is anybody's guess.
I think EARLY DETECTION is key for the best treatments & survival, so this is an area that needs to be improved upon for the sake of the patients and their families. And, for all the Conservatives out there -- think about the costs to the healthcare system that could be saved as well (short and long-term).
I think that certain cancers should be tested for at certain ages for everyone -- i.e. prostrate for any man 40+; colon cancer for everyone 45-50 years old (or earlier if there are symptoms/family history); and for other types of cancer like cervical/ovarian, even earlier depending on sex, symptoms, family history, and life-style experiences, etc.
I'd like to see general yearly check-ups for everyone; doing screening for probable health issues according to age and family history. I think more things could be nipped in the bud, so2speak.