Cancer screening means looking for the presence of cancer in healthy people before they have symptoms. There are certain tests that help find specific types of cancer before signs or symptoms appear. Cancer screening tests are designed to find cancer at an early stage, when it may be easier to treat effectively. The main goals of cancer screening are to reduce the number of people who develop the disease and who encounter deaths due to disease.
Some cancer screening tests that have been found to lower the death rates include mammography for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colon cancer, and pap smear for cervical cancer. Some cancer screenings are recommended for people who are at high risk of developing cancer, which include breast MRI for women at increased risk of breast cancer.
Many cancer screening tests are in use. Effective screening tests are those that find cancer early, lower the chances of someone’s dying from the disease. Each type of cancer has its own screening tests. Here are some of the recommended screening tests for different types of cancer.
Tests for Breast Cancer
Mammography – It is a type of x-ray used to take pictures of the breast. Low-energy x-ray pictures are used to check for breast cancer in women that have no early signs or symptoms. The images that x-ray produces are called mammograms. It can also be used to diagnose lumps, tumors or any irregularities in the breast.
Clinical Breast Examination – It is a physical exam often done by the family care doctor during your regular medical check-up. The medical professional looks for any changes in the breast’s size and shape. The examiner also checks the breasts for any changes in the nipples or color.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – It is not generally used as a regular physical exam for breast cancer. It can be helpful for those who have been diagnosed with a lump during a breast exam, those with dense breasts or those with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Tests for Colon (Colorectal) Cancer
Colonoscopy – This test for detecting colorectal cancer aims to prevent the disease in the first place and reduce the risk of dying from the disease. This type of cancer usually develops from abnormal colon or rectum growths (precancerous polyps). To conduct the test, the family physician inserts light and flexible tube called a colonoscope into the rectum to examine the entire colon for cancer.
Sigmoidoscopy – Like a colonoscopy, the family practice doctor use flexible and light tube called sigmoidoscopy to diagnose the lower colon for cancer. However, it is unable to check the upper part of the rectum using this test.
Stool DNS Test – This test is designed to examine abnormal DNA related to colon cancer. It is also used to check the blood in the stool that indicates the presence of cancer. It uses DNA changes found in cancers and polyps to help a family medicine doctor determine if the colonoscopy is required.
Double Contrast Barium Anema – This test is an x-ray of the colon and rectum. In this procedure, a liquid containing barium is put into the rectum to outline the rectum and colon on an x-ray. This test is used by doctors to screen people who cannot have a colonoscopy.
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – This test is used to check the invisible blood in the feces or stool. Occult blood in the stool can be a sign of colorectal cancer or polyps in the colon or rectum. Guaiac smear method and immunochemical method are two main types of FOBT.
Tests for Cervical Cancer
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Testing – This screening method is used to detect and prevent the incidence of cervical cancer as it allows normal cells to be found and treated before they become cancer. An HPV test can also be performed using a sample of cells from a woman’s vagina.
Pap Test – Similar to HPC screening type, this test also uses cells from the outside of a woman’s cervix to detect any cancerous or precancerous cells. This test can be done alone or combined with human papillomavirus testing.
Tests for Lung Cancer
Low Dose Helical or Spiral Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan – Family care doctors recommend this test to screen for lung cancer to those who are active smokers or have a history of heavy smoking. During the procedure, a CT scan takes x-rays of the inside of the body from different angles. These images are then combined into a detailed, 3-dimensional image that shows any tumors or abnormalities.
Besides, there are other screening tests for ovarian, prostate, thyroid, pancreatic, and testicular cancer that have not been shown to reduce deaths from these cancers but recommended, especially for people who are at a higher risk of cancer. If you are looking for the best family practice center in Brooklyn, New York for getting cancer screening, visit Artisans of Medicine today!