Cancer Screening: Everything You need to Know

Cancer Screening: Everything You need to Know

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

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Cancer is ruination. It eats not only physical health but affects mental and emotional well-being. And it is not only catastrophic for the patients. It also takes a toll on their families and caregivers. Unfortunately, it comes as a surprise for most people. And even more, people catch cancer in its late stages, a situation that is akin to closing the stable door when the horse has bolted because the treatment options become limited. A better chance of treatment is when cancer gets identified on time. That makes cancer screening a significant element of overall health.

What is cancer screening?

Cancer screening is looking for cancerous cells before the onset of any symptoms. Screening helps spot abnormal tissues at an earlier stage when the treatment options are vast hence being easier to treat and cure. It is good practice to schedule screening whenever you notice any identifiable symptoms. The screening will unmask irregularities and make it easier to identify interventions early enough. There are various cancer screening options available. Your age, personal risk factors, and gender should inform which screening to consider. That said, there are general cancer screening one should do, like:

Lung cancer

If you have a smoking history, it is wise to talk to your healthcare provider and schedule a lung cancer screening. There is a better chance of recovery if lung cancer gets arrested in its earliest stages.

If you have had a few too many smokes pass through your lungs over the years, lung cancer screening would be appropriate. Older people, even without symptoms, should also highly consider lung cancer screening. Lung cancer screening used to happen through regular chest X-Rays, but low-dose CT scans are becoming more accurate and preferred.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer screening is vital, especially for people at a higher risk level. That said, most people are at average risk even if they do not have a family history of the disease or any genetic mutations associated with increased risk. It is crucial to continue the screening even if you enjoy good health. Regular mammograms and clinical breast exams are among the most popular screening tests for breast cancer. Mammograms are breast X-Rays that detect tumours that may not be physically identifiable but are indicative of breast cancer. 3D mammography does a neat job providing a three-dimensional picture of the breast by combining multiple breast X-Rays.

Breast exams, on the other hand, are thorough examinations of the breast tissue to look for lumps, pain and any unexpected changes. It is easier to identify any abnormalities with frequent screenings. Breast exam or mammogram results determine the next diagnostic test, an ultrasound, necessary.

Cervical cancer

All women with cervixes past 25 years should consider cervical cancer screenings. Regular screening helps spot lesions caused by the human papillomavirus before they become cancerous. The kind of screening you should get depends on your age and health history.

Some screening tests for checking cervical cancer are HPV tests, pap tests, or a combination of both the Pap and HPV tests. One may need more screening depending on whether they have more risk factors like a compromised immune system or having been exposed to precancerous lesions in the past. Cervical cancer screening may not be necessary for women that have undergone hysterectomies.

Wrapping up

Cancer screening is an integral part of overall healthcare. It provides an excellent approach to surviving cancer because of early detection and adequate treatment.

*This article is based on personal suggestions and/or experiences and is for informational purposes only. This should not be used as professional advice. Please consult a professional where applicable.


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