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Screening Tests


Cancer: Early Diagnosis and Screening

It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 13 million cancer-related deaths and 21.7 million new cases of cancer worldwide. The incidence of cancer can be reduced with preventive measures like avoiding various lifestyle choices (alcohol and smoking, for example) and environmental risk factors. We have an even higher risk of developing cancer as we age, although cancer is not limited to a particular age and could be inherited.

The Importance of Early Detection

Cancer is an extremely complex and multifaceted disease. By controlling the risk factors, as well as undergoing screening and detecting cancer in its early stages we can significantly lower the incidence of cancer deaths.
If detected early the majority of malignant tumors can be treated successfully. A metastatic tumor (that has spread to other areas of the body), is far more complex to treat. To limit the treatment to a relatively small procedure, timely diagnosis of non-invasive cancer types is effective.
Screening and early diagnosis are the two components of early detection of cancer. While screening consists of testing individuals who are healthy to identify those having cancers before any symptoms appear, the focus of early diagnosis is to detect symptomatic patients as early as possible.

Early diagnosis

Reduce the proportion of patients who are diagnosed at a late stage is the aim of early diagnosis programmes.
They are particularly relevant to cancers of the cervix, breast, larynx, skin, colon and rectum, and mouth.

Screening

To identify those individuals who have a disease, but do not yet have symptoms screening is done. For instance, for breast cancer screening mammography or clinical breast exam is done, and for cervical cancer screening human papillomavirus test or pap smears, or visual inspection with acetic acid is recommended.
To bring down the mortality rate, some cancer screening tests have been found highly effective for certain cancers like mammography for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colon cancer, and Pap smear for cervical cancer.

Screening Tests That Have Proved Effective in Lowering Cancer Deaths

  • Sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and high-sensitivity Faecal Occult Blood Tests (FOBTs)
    Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy can detect abnormal colon growths (polyps) that can be removed before they develop into cancer and help prevent colorectal cancer.
  • Low-dose helical computed tomography
    This lung cancer screening test has shown to reduce lung cancer deaths among heavy smokers.
  • Mammography
    For detecting breast cancer early mammography is the most efficient method. Mortality from the disease among women has subsequently reduced, thanks to this method to screen breast cancer.
  • HPV testing and Pap test
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and Pap test have shown to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, because they allow the identification of abnormal cells before they become cancer. Deaths from cervical cancer have reduced because of these tests.

We perform cancer screening after documenting a patient’s full family history (for related high-risk factors that may have been inherited). Screening can detect or rule out any malignancies.

Even an asymptomatic (no obvious symptoms) tumor can be detected at its early stages with the help of screening that includes a number of laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures.

Research, modern technologies, and new treatment options have greatly improved survival rates.

Tell your doctor if you do spot something unusual. It won’t be cancer in most cases – but if it is, finding it early can make a real difference.
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