In today’s world, cancer is the leading cause of mortality, accounting for approximately one out of every six fatalities. Therefore, as a preventative step, it is important to undergo different cancer screening tests in order to avoid the life-threatening disease.
What is cancer screening?
Screening Tests which are advised to diagnose cancer before you have symptoms.
It involves looking for areas that can turn into cancer, or “pre-cancers.” The goal is to find pre-cancers and cancers as early as possible, so you can get treatment and have the best possible outcome.
Test depend on type of cancer being screened for and age because different cancers tend to strike at different times in a person’s life.
Early detection of cancer and precancerous conditions can prevent cancer or increase chance of cure due to detection in early stage.
Does everyone have the same cancer screening?
No. Different cancers occur at different age group. People with a family history of certain cancers might begin screening at a younger age than people without a family history.
Does an abnormal screening test result mean that I have cancer?
Not always. It means you might have cancer or pre cancer. Other test may be required to rule out cancer.
Which cancers can people be screened for?
Some of the types of cancer for which screening tests are available are:
● Breast cancer – Mammogram is advised to start from the age of 45-50 yrs
People who have a strong family history of breast cancer might begin screening earlier.
● Colon cancer – There are multiple available test and screening start from the age of 50.
People having family history of colon cancer need to start screening early.
● Cervical cancer – “Pap smear” or “Pap test” with or without HPV test, often begins at age 21 or after marriage , although in some cases, screening begins at age 25.
People who are older than 65 might not need to continue cervical cancer screening.
● Prostate cancer – “PSA test”. It’s a blood test. People should discuss prostate cancer screening at around 50 yrs or sometimes little early in high risk cases.
● Lung cancer – “low dose CT scan.” If you are 50 to 80 years old, have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and smoking now or have quit within the past 15 years,.
Screening help in detecting the disease early and reduces the chance of death due to lung cancer. However the best and the cheapest way to reduce your chance of getting lung cancer is to stop smoking.
● Ovarian cancer – Blood test and or an ultrasound. However these tests do not always find early ovarian cancer. Most people do not need a routine ovarian cancer screening. Still, the tests are sometimes used in people with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer and can begin at age 30 to 35.
Dr. Anita Malik is MD in Radiotherapy and MBBS. She is the Best Oncologist in Delhi with over 12 years of experience. She has been trained and has gained experience at prestigious Indian institutions such as AIIMs Delhi and Medanta Gurugram. She is also a member of numerous prestigious professional associations. You can learn more about here