Cancer screening tests are done to look for the presence of cancer in healthy people or people without symptoms of cancer. Cancer screening tests are also designed to detect cancer at an early stage when they are more treatable. Some cancer screening tests have proven helpful in lowering the death rate from certain cancers. Some of these cancer screening tests are recommended only for people who are a high risk for developing cancer.
10 Tests To Assess Your Cancer Risk
The 10 Ways and tests to assess your cancer risks are:
Barium Enema to Assess Your Cancer Risk
Barium is a contrast medium, i.e. a substance which can make the images of the inside of the body, clearer. A barium enema is an x-ray of the rectum and colon. These organs make up the large intestine, which helps the body process waste. A barium enema helps doctors to detect health conditions in the colon and rectum, like inflammation, polyps and cancer.
Bone Scan to Assess Your Cancer Risk
A bone scan is a nuclear medicine test and is a cancer screening test, which helps to detect cancer in the bones. A bone scan uses a very small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer, which is injected into a vein. Areas where too little or too much tracer has been absorbed by the body can indicate cancer. Normally the entire body is scanned during this procedure. A bone scan can also help to monitor the body response to the cancer treatment.
Bone Marrow Aspiration & Biopsy to Assess Your Risk of Cancer
Bone marrow is the fatty spongy tissue present inside larger bones. Bone marrow is responsible for producing both red and white blood cells, and platelets in the body. At times, the doctors need to examine the development and function of these cells and thus order for a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. A bone marrow aspiration is a procedure where the doctor takes a sample of the liquid portion of bone marrow, while a bone marrow biopsy involves removing a small, solid piece of bone marrow. In both the procedures, bone marrow is often taken from the pelvic bone. Both these screening tests are mostly conducted at the same time, and this is referred to as bone marrow examination. These screening tests not only helps to assess the cancer risk, but also can help the doctors identify conditions like stem cell disorders, rare genetic diseases, and blood cancers, including lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or leukaemia (blood cancer).
Assessing Cancer Risk with Different Types of Endoscopy
Endoscopy is a procedure which allows a doctor to view the inside of an individual’s body. In this procedure, a tool called endoscope is inserted into a person’s body. Endoscopes are mostly thin tubes with a powerful light and tiny camera at the end. They help the doctor view the internal body, collect tissues or provide treatment. Originally, this test was only used in the stomach, esophagus, and colon, but now endoscopy is also being used to diagnose diseases of the heart, urinary tract, nose, ear, throat, joints, and abdomen. The doctor can recommend an endoscopy to screen for and prevent cancer. For example, a colonoscopy is a kind of endoscopy, which is done to detect abnormalities in the large intestine, like colorectal cancer.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan to Assess Your Cancer Risk
A computed tomography (CT) scan, also known as CAT scan, is one of the popular cancer screening tests to assess the risk of cancer and used to diagnose cancer. In CT scan test, an x-ray machine is used to create a 3-dimensional picture of the inside of the body and then a computer combines these images into a detailed view which shows any abnormalities or tumors. Areas which are commonly scanned include the neck, head, abdomen, chest, limbs and pelvis. A total body CT scan is often used for cancer staging.
Assessment of Cancer Risk With Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
A digital rectal exam (DRE) is a test for both men and women, which allows a doctor to check the pelvis, lower rectum, and lower belly for cancers like prostate cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer. A DRE can be performed as part of a routine medical examination, or may be conducted if a person has symptoms like rectal bleeding, urethral discharge or bleeding, or a change in bowel habits or urine stream.
Mammography to Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Mammography is a screening test, which checks for breast cancer and assesses the risk of breast cancer in women. Mammography produces images known as mammograms, which can show small tumors that cannot otherwise be felt. Mammograms can also detect other irregularities in the breasts. The 2 main types of mammograms are screening mammogram and diagnostic mammogram. The former is done to detect breast cancer in women with no symptoms. Mammography is a cancer screening, which also helps to catch cancer early when it is more treatable.
FISH Test for Assessing the Risk of Cancer
Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) is a screening test, which “maps” the genetic material in human cells, including specific genes or parts of genes. Since genetic abnormalities associated with cancer can be detected by a FISH test, it can prove useful in diagnosing some types of the disease, like breast cancer.
CEA Test to Assess Your Cancer Risk
An antigen is a substance that is produced by cancerous tumor cells and is released into the bloodstream. A carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test is a blood test used to diagnose and manage certain form of cancers, especially for cancers of the rectum and large intestine. It basically measures the amount of carcinoembryonic antigen in the blood. The doctor can also use CEA test to determine if a cancer treatment is working or not.
Pap Test and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Testing to Assess Cancer Risk
These screening tests are used to identify abnormal cells and treat them before they become cancerous. They also help to reduce deaths from cervical cancer. People are advised to start taking this test from the age of 21 years, up till the age of 65 years, as long as the recent results are normal.
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