Cancer is a devastating illness, but the good news is that it is treatable. Cancer screening tests are meant to help detect cancer early. Regular cancer screenings help find cancer before it starts causing symptoms and at a stage where it is treatable. Regular cancer screenings also reduce the chance that someone who is predisposed to cancer will die from the disease. There are different types of cancer screening tests for different types of cancer and general tests that look at the whole body. Keep reading to find out the most common types of screening tests that can reduce the chance of getting cancer or dying from it by detecting it early.
Colonoscopy, Stool, and Sigmoidoscopy Tests
Colorectal cancer can be very aggressive and devastate a patient very quickly. Doctors now use various types of tests to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. They do this by examining various parts of the colon and rectum as well as stool samples to detect the presence of polyps in the colon and rectum. Polyps are abnormal colon growths that can become cancerous if they are left undetected and untreated.
By removing the polyps, doctors can detect this type of cancer early and help prevent cancer. People aged 50 to 75 are at a higher risk for this type of cancer and should therefore go for regular screenings.
Mammography is the definitive test for breast cancer. Most breast cancer patients first notice a lump or an abnormal growth in their breast tissues. A mammography, which is an x-ray examination of the breast tissue, can help diagnose these abnormalities, especially tumors in the breast tissue.
Mammography has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and deaths related to breast cancer by up to 30%. Although regular screenings will not help prevent cancer, they can help detect it early. Mammography is recommended for all women over the age of 40 to 75.
Breast Exams and Breast Self-Exams
Although breast exams do not use any equipment, they are still an important screening tool for breast cancer in both men and women. These tests can be done by a healthcare professional in clinical settings or by an individual. Breast exams have been shown to be an adequate tool for the detection of abnormalities in the breast tissue and are credited with encouraging so many women to get a mammography exam done.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses radio waves, magnetism, and computers to produce detailed images of various body organs and structures. The process is painless and does not come with the risk of radiation that an x-ray does.
MRI scans are used to detect diseases and illnesses in the body because they are very accurate. They are used in the early detection of certain cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer, where these detection techniques would not work well.
Because of how useful they are as early cancer detection tools, everyone over 35 should get an annual full-body MRI scan, and more so if they are over 40. To learn more about early cancer detection using full-body scans, you can consult this early cancer detection resource from Ezra. Ezra provides full-body scans that look for cancer and other common diseases warning signs. They can look at up to 13 different organs during your visits, with medical professionals standing by to discuss your results with you after the scan.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Testing and Pap Tests
These tests are used alone or together for the early detection of cervical cancer, one of the most common cancers in women besides breast cancer. They both allow for detecting abnormal cells and for doctors to take appropriate measures to prevent them from developing into cancerous cells.
Women at low risk for cervical cancer should begin regular tests at the age of 21. These tests are done every three years. Those at higher risk for cervical cancer can be advised to go for more frequent testing.
The PSA test is a blood test used alongside a digital rectal exam to detect prostate cancer early. This test is no longer recommended because it usually detects less deadly forms of prostate cancer. However, it is still a sensible option.
A transvaginal ultrasound is an imaging test used to create images of a woman’s uterus and ovaries. A transvaginal ultrasound can be used to screen for cancer in women who are at a higher-than-normal risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer. Transvaginal ultrasounds are often used with other tests such as biopsies to confirm any diagnosis.
Regular cancer screenings can help detect cancer early and before it starts showing symptoms. Detecting cancer at this stage has been shown to reduce cancer incidences by up to 80% for some types of cancer. Everyone over the age of 21 should start getting regular tests, and everyone over 40 needs to do so.