All You Need to Know About Cancer Screening Tests
Screening tests can help detect cancer at an early stage before symptoms surface. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it becomes easier to treat or cure the causative agent for the overall condition. Because, by the time symptoms get noticed by the patient or the doctor, cancer may have grown and spread to unmanageable proportions; this makes it harder to treat.
Women should undergo screening test on a periodic basis for as long as they are in good health and are expected to live 10 more years or longer.
- 40 – 44 years – Mammograms annually
- 45 – 54 years – Mammograms annually
- 55 years and older – Mammograms every 2 years
All women should be aware of the known advantages, constraints, and possible harms associated with breast cancer screening.
Colon & Rectal Cancer and Polyps
Starting at age 50, both men and women should follow one of these testing plans under the guidance of a medical expert. Tests that find polyps and cancer are:
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Double – contrast Barium Enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Following are the tests that mostly determine cancer:
- Guaiac – based faecal occult blood test annually
- Faecal immunochemical test annually
- Stool DNA test every 3 years
The tests that can find both early cancer and polyps should be your first preference; talk to a health care provider about which test is advisable for you. The screening tests might differ if you are at high risk of colon cancer based on family history or other factors.
Cervical cancer testing should start at the age of 21. Women under the age of 21 should not be tested.
- 21 – 29 years – Pap test every 3 years; HPV test in case of abnormal Pap test
- 30 – 65 years – Pap + HPV test every 5 years
- 65 years & older – Cervical cancer testing every 10 years if there is a history of cervical pre-cancer
- No tests for the women with total Hysterectomy done
It is advisable that women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for their age groups. The screening tests might differ because of your health history (HIV infection, organ transplant, etc.)
Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
The American Cancer Society suggests that at the time of menopause, all women should be made aware of the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer. They should be educated to report any unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting to a medical expert.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.