Early detection of cancer can save millions of lives because, in the infancy stage, there are no visible symptoms. However, when treated at this stage, it could prevent the patient from serious life consequences.
FREMONT, CA: Nearly one out of three people will be affected by cancer in the US during their lifetimes. According to a recent study, the number of cancer survivors will reach 18 million by 2020. There emerges the need to reduce the number of people who develop and die from the disease. Certain tests help identify specific types of cancer before the appearance of symptoms, and the process of testing is named screening. As each type of cancer is unique, they have their own screening tests, and some do not have an effective screening method. Knowing the importance of screening, CIOs suggest six significant cancer screenings to be embraced in 2020.
Lung cancer kills more people than many other types of cancer, like breast, colon, skin, and prostate. Men and women who are between 55 and 74 years who have or had the habit of smoking should screen their lungs. Lung cancer screening involves CT scanning.
Low-dose helical or spiral computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan, where X-rays of the body are taken from different angles, and the images are combined with an algorithm to get a detailed 3-dimensional image to show any abnormalities or tumors.
Women between the ages of 40 to 44 years are at reduced risk for breast cancer, while those between 45 and 54 are at high risk for the same. All the women are recommended to get a mammogram every year. Women who are at increased risk of breast cancer is primarily due to genetical and personal history as they are the carriers of mutated genes. Different screening tests are available for breast cancer, depending on the severity.
Mammography – It is a type of imaging technique designed especially for viewing the breast that can display the irregularities or tumors in the breast, and the images produced are called mammograms.
Clinical breast examination – A clinician visually looks for cancer presence through changes in the breast’s size and shape. Also, any change in the skin of the breast is noted.
Breast self-examination – Women, on their own, can evaluate their breasts for any abnormality by just looking and feeling. If she notices any change, then she should see a doctor.
Magnetic resonance imaging – It is highly recommended for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. However, it is not regularly used unless needed. It will be helpful for women with dense breasts or when a lump is noticed during a breast exam.
Colon cancer screening detects cancer as well as polyps that can turn into cancer, and it prevents its occurrence. People should begin taking the screening test for colon cancer at the age of 45 years up to 75 years and after 75 if needed. The screening test is conducted once in 10 years employing different methods.
Colonoscopy - Doctor checks for the presence of polyps or cancer throughout the colon by inserting a flexible, simple and lighted tube with a camera at the end called colonoscope into the rectum.
Sigmoidoscopy – The procedure is the same as colonoscopy, where the physician inserts a flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope to confine the test to lower colon for polyps and cancer and not the upper colon.
Faecal occult blood test (FOBT) – It detects traces of blood in faeces or stool, which is a sign of the presence of polyps and cancer and is of two types, namely guaiac and immunochemical.
Double-contrast barium enema – For those who are not suitable to take colonoscopy, this test is preferred and is an X-ray of the colon and rectum. In this test, the barium enema act as the contrast agent showing the outline of the colon and rectum stand out on the x-rays.
Stool DNA test – It takes a stool sample from the patient and analyzes DNA for cancer that, in turn, will help doctors to decide if colonoscopy is necessary.
The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Although the reasons have not yet determined, black men, men carrying genetically transmitted genes, and obese men diagnosed are highly diagnosed to have prostate cancer.
Digital rectal examination (DRE) – It is a test in which a doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a man’s rectum and feels the prostate surface for any irregularities.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests – It is a blood test measuring the level of PSA, which is usually higher in the levels than normal in men with prostate cancer.
People whose skin is exposed to the sun a lot are highly susceptible to skin cancer. Thus checking for skin cancer for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at early stages. Doctors will simply check for signs of skin cancer during diagnosis. Sometimes, people can themselves examine their body in a mirror for signs by checking the scalp and back of the neck. For accurate determination, handheld devices and other modalities are used.
Dermoscopy- Early detection of melanoma is possible using a handheld device that evaluates the size, shape, and pigmentation patterns of skin lesions.
Apart from the above, head and neck cancers are also common that involves regular dental checkups and simple screening handled by physicians by looking into the nose, mouth, and throat for abnormalities and feel lumps in the neck.