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Cancer Screening

Screening helps with early detection of cancer before signs and symptoms start.

  • Benefits

Cancers are screened by performing tests that help to detect cancer cells in the body of a healthy individual, who shows no symptoms. People who are at a high risk of developing cancer are advised by their doctors to undergo screening.

The benefit of cancer screening is early detection; which allows for early intervention and treatment. This brings about positive outcomes and increases the chances of survival. Cancer screening can also prevent the occurrence of cancer. Some screening tests can detect abnormal changes before tissues can turn cancerous. Intervention at the right time can prevent one from developing the disease. Screening sometimes can cause a false alarm but, in most cases, it helps to save life.

  • Screening Guidelines

Screening guidelines are designed as advice to help detect cancer before any symptoms appear. Most of the guidelines are based on prevalence, age and high-risk groups in which the particular cancers occur. Listed below are screening guidelines for some commonly occurring cancers. These are just an overview so please consult your oncologist for appropriate medical advice.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Women above the age of 40 should be aware of their risks, get screened yearly and also conduct self-exam screening.

  • Ideally women should get mammograms done yearly or every alternate year after 40-45 years of age.

  • Regular mammograms should be continued for as long as good health is maintained.

  • Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

  • Age 21 to 29: To get a Pap Smear Test done every 3 years.

  • Age 30 to 64: To get a Pap Smear test every 3 years or Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test done every 5 years.

  • Age 65 or older: Do not need additional exams if they have had no unusual Pap or HPV test results in the past 10 years.

  • Screening for women who have had a hysterectomy, but have not had cervical cancer or severe cervical dysplasia, should:
    • Discuss with the doctor if screening is needed; if hysterectomy included removal of cervix.

    • Get a Pap test and HPV test every five years if the hysterectomy didn’t include removal of cervix.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Colon and rectal cancers are not rare, but are difficult to screen. Hence it is important to notice symptoms like unusual bowel movements, bleeding etc. Colon and rectal cancers occur mostly in adults and so the screening guidelines are suggested for 50 years and older.

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years.

  • Virtual colonoscopy (also called Computed Tomographic Colonography) every five years. A colonoscopy will be performed if polyps are found.

  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)- i.e. stool-based test every year.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Liver cancer is common in adults, hence screening guidelines are suggested for people above 21 years who are at high risk. Condition that increase the risk of developing hepatic cancer are:

  • Chronic Hepatitis C infection

  • Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

  • Inherited Metabolic diseases

  • Autoimmune Hepatitis

  • Non- alcoholic fatty liver disease

Screening tests include:

  • Liver ultrasound every 6 months

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test every 6 months

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Lung cancer screening is recommended for adults who are at a very high risk of developing the disease; which include:

  • Being a current smoker (or former smoker who quit in the past 15 years)

  • Having 30 pack-year smoking history (For example, one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years).

Screening tests include:

  • Low-dose computerized tomography (CT or CAT scan) every year.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Ovarian Cancer screening is recommended if you have one of the following:

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations

  • Suspected risk of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations

  • One close relative with ovarian cancer who has a suspected BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation

  • Lynch Syndrome (Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer)

Screening tests include:

  • Trans-vaginal ultrasound every 6-12 months

  • CA 125 blood test every 6-12 months

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Prostate cancer is common in older men and the screening guidelines recommended are:

Age 45 - 74

  • Specific antigen (PSA) blood test
  • Strongly consider Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
  • Continue testing as indicated by your previous test results.

Age 75 or older

  • Your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening.
  • Men older than 85 years are generally not screened.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

  • Self-Exam Screening

It is important to understand what in your body is normal and what an abnormality feels or appears like. It is not expected that one must know the signs and symptoms of all types of cancers, but understanding your body is of utmost importance. There are some parts of the body we can see and touch and so it is easy to notice any change. But, there are many organs in our body which we cannot see; where symptoms such as a persistent cough, blood in the stool, etc, need to be noted. Any change in any part of your body must be reported to your doctor who will evaluate it further.

  • Breast Check
  • Oral Check
  • Skin Check
  • Testicular Check

All women are advised to perform self-examination of their breasts at least once a month. It must be performed in the shower, in front of a mirror and while lying down.

  • While in the shower, move your fingers around your entire breast in a circular fashion from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and the armpit. Feel for any knots or lumps in both breasts.

  • While standing in front of a mirror, look for any changes in size and shape of the two breasts and also changes in the position of nipples. Notice any puckering, dimpling or other changes.

  • While lying down, the breast tissue spreads on the chest wall and once again palpate using your fingers similar to the process done in the shower.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Oral cavity examination should be performed once a month in front of a mirror.

  • Look for any asymmetry on both sides of the face.

  • Check for any lumps or knots in the neck region.

  • Use a flashlight and a small mirror to check for structures inside the mouth– the roof of the mouth (palate), insides of your cheeks, tongue, the floor of the mouth by raising your tongue, the gums, inside and outside of your lips.

  • Remember to also run your finger in all these areas to detect any changes in texture or presence of some abnormal growth.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

  • Skin self-examinations need to be performed preferably in front of a full-length mirror.

  • Make sure the area is well lit, so it is easier to spot any minor changes.

  • Check your skin for moles, blemishes, or birthmarks and if they have undergone any changes.

  • For areas difficult to access such as back, scalp or inner thighs; you may ask your spouse or close friend or family member to help.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

This must be encouraged from the age of 15 as this cancer is common in the 15-30 years age group. The initial signs include a lump, enlargement or change in the feel of the testicle. As the lump begins to grow in size, there may be a feeling of discomfort in the abdomen and groin region.

How to perform a testicular self-examination?

  • Perform a visual inspection in front of a mirror while standing

  • Cup the scrotum with one hand and feel for any changes

  • One by one, roll the testicles in between your thumb and fingers to detect any lump or swelling (normally testicles are smooth and spongy)

  • Feel if one testicle feels larger than the other

  • Check the skin which should be mobile and soft at its attachment to the testicles

  • Check the vas deferens which must feel like a smooth moveable tube.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information on screening or if you have any concerns.

Regular screening helps early detection and increases chances of successful treatment.

We can connect you for:

  • Genetic screening
  • Scans & Diagnostics
  • Tumor marker screening
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