Health and Fitness

All About Cancer Screening Tests

The examination of any abnormal cells that can become cancerous in the future in people who show no other signs and symptoms is known as a screening test.  Many cancer screening tests have been known to identify cancer early and reduce the chances of death from any kind of cancer. The objective of Cancer screening tests is to find cancer in the body before we can see any symptoms and it will still be easier to treat. An effective health screening test is one that is able to detect diseases early.

What kind of cancer screening tests are recommended?

There are a number of common cancer screening tests that are considered quite effective and are recommended by the experts.

  • Breast cancer screening – It is seen that mammography has reduced deaths resulting from breast cancer among women aged above 40. The experts recommend that the screening should start with women aged above 50 who have an average risk.
  • Cervical cancer screening – HPV and Pap tests are the cervical cancer screening tests that are recommended done alone or combined. These tests will prevent diseases because they enable abnormal cells to be detected and even treated before they turn into cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer screening – It is seen that many screening tests, which include colonoscopy, stool tests, etc. have shown a reduction in the death risk from colorectal cancer. Apart from the early detection of colorectal cancer, these health screening tests can help in preventing the disease from developing. These tests are able to find abnormal growth in the colon that can be removed before becoming cancerous. People who have a risk for colorectal cancer should go for screening from age 45.
  • Lung cancer screening – CT scans for cancer screening have resulted in the reduction of lung cancer deaths among people who are heavy smokers.

What to ask the doctor about cancer screening tests?

Being aware is the first step before getting treated for a disease. People will often have a lot of questions in their minds about going for a health screening test. Let us look at some of the common questions that can be discussed with the doctor to know the correct cancer screening test for you.

  • Should I go for a cancer screening? Which cancer screening tests are recommended for me?
  • How frequently should I go for the tests? Till what age?
  • What is the point of these tests?
  • Should I do any preparation for the tests?
  • What is the procedure for the tests?
  • Are there any risks?
  • How much time to get the test results?
  • What will happen if anything abnormal comes up in the test results?

Facts about Cancer screening tests

  • Cancer screening tests are the tests that aim to look for the presence of any type of cancer in seemingly healthy people or people who have no obvious symptoms of cancer.
  • These are designed to detect cancers at a much early stage when they still can be treated.
  • Some health screening tests are known to have reduced the death rate from a few cancers. Some of the common cancer screening tests that have reduced the cancer death rate are Pap smear for cervical cancer, mammography for breast cancer, as well as colonoscopy for colon cancer.
  • Some of the tests are recommended only for people who are at high risk of developing cancer, like the MRI of the women’s breast who has an increased risk of breast cancer.

How is cancer diagnosed?

The doctor can use one or more of the following approaches for diagnosing cancer –

  • A Physical exam – Feeling the areas of your body for any lumps that can indicate cancer. The doctor will look for any kind of abnormalities, like a change in the colour of the skin or organ enlargement.
  • Laboratory tests – Lab tests like urine and blood tests can help the doctor identify any abnormalities for example, for patients suffering from leukemia, a complete blood count is able to reveal an abnormal amount or kind of white blood cells.
  • Imaging tests – The doctor can examine the bones as well as the internal organs in a non-invasive way. Imaging tests used commonly are CT scans, bone scans, MRI, PET scans, ultrasound, as well as X-ray, among others.
  • Biopsy – The doctor will collect cell samples for testing. The correct biopsy procedure for a person will depend on the type of cancer as well as its location in the body.

Takeaway

A few cancers can be found early even before they can grow and spread further in the body. Regular cancer screening tests will increase the chance of the detection of certain cancers early. A thorough health screening test that is done at regular intervals is perhaps the best security against cancer. Any kind of delay can lead to dangerous consequences.

Nura – A unit of Fujifilm DKH LLP

NURA is India’s first Ai based health screening centre. It is a collaboration between Fujifilm, world leaders in cutting edge intelligent imaging and medical technologies and Dr Kutty's Healthcare, an institution with deep roots in healthcare space. We have a shared goal of creating a culture of early screening. We want to secure the lives of people while providing an accessible and high-quality healthcare experience. With NURA, we bring years of screening knowledge from Japan, its cutting-edge technology, and the warmth of its hospitality.

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