Importance of Screening In Cancer

Cancer unless diagnosed at very later stages does not mean fatal, this probably was the scenario many years before the advancements in the field of medicine . Nowadays it is very much possible to have cancer in remission for years and lead an active life.

Cancer screening includes a number of lab tests and imaging studies  that can indicate the presence of cancer in the body . Cancer can be most successfully treated when diagnosed in their early stages.

The screening tests are especially advised if risk factors for cancer are present, such as a family history of certain cancers, genetic disorders that increase your risk or lifestyle factors that make cancer more likely.

  • Colon cancer – Both men and women should get screened for colon cancer after age 50.
  • Prostate cancer – Risk for prostate cancer begins to rise around age 50.
  • Cervical cancer – All women aged 21 and over should be screened for cervical cancer regularly. Screening recommendations are a pap test every three years.
  • Breast cancer – Women should be screened for breast cancer once yearly, starting at ageof 40 to 45.
  • Lung cancer – chronic smokers  should be screened for lung cancer regularly.

There are a number of tests and imaging studies inscreening ,False positives and false negatives are possible with some cancer blood tests, so it is important that other symptoms and health factors are taken.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Helpful in diagnosing some blood cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, by detecting abnormal cells in the blood.

  • Tumour Marker Tests– these tests give an indication that cancer may be present in the body
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing – Commonly used as a screening tool for the early detection of prostate cancer. Elevated levels of PSA can give your doctor an early indication of the development of prostate cancer.
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Testing
  • AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein) Testing –when found in non pregnant women or men itcan be an indication of cancers that include liver, testicular or ovarian cancer.
  • Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) Testing – This antigen is used as a tumour marker for ovarian cancer.
  • Cancer Antigen 27.29 (CA 27.29) Testing –This test is the only blood test that is specific to cancer of the breast
  • (CA 19-9) Testing – It can be used to help diagnose cancer of the pancreas as well as to monitor treatment progress.
  • Blood Protein Testing – Blood protein testing is used to detect multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.

Imaging examination

  • PET-CT
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Fluoroscopy
  • MRI
  • Mammography
  • Bone scan, thyroid scan

Recommended follow up  when diagnosed positively

Every cancer is different and the medical oncologist along with his team can guide to the best possible plan of action. It is imperative to follow the oncologist advice which is most definitely   given after taking into account all the modalities of age, body health, type and stage of cancer etc

Also check Some of the Best Cancer Hospitals in India for treatment

You can and should definitely take a second opinion, but in no case you should avoid suggested treatment, in fact go ahead with a positive frame of mind.

Seeking some alternative form of treatment which is not scientifically proven and letting the cancer advance is no common sense.

Definitely there are negative effects of cancer treatment , but most of the after-effects are temporary and gradually go as healthy cells usually recover after , there may be some long term effects like on fertility, heart , kidneys . Common side effects like fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain and hair loss which can be dealt with healthy diet and lifestyle and strong support group

Mostly chronic cancers cannot be cured completely but they can be controlled or go in remission for months or years in most of the cases .

Apart from Surgery,radiotherapy , chemotherapy , hormone therapy , there are many new treatment modalities for cancer like immunotherapy which is boosting own body immune system to fight against cancer by recognizing and destroying cancer cells .

So go ahead with the treatment plan best selected for your case, all the best .