Early Diagnosis: These Five Cancer Screenings Are Recommended

One of the ways you can reduce your risk for cancer is by getting screening tests that can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear.

When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure.  By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread, making the cancer harder to treat or cure. 

The earlier doctors can detect changes in tissue, the better the chances of removing a cancer with few complications.  Below are five important cancer screenings that can save lives and prevent tumor development.

– Colon Cancer – A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon).  Using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope to look at the colon, a colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.  During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and abnormal growths can be taken out.

– Skin Cancer – A skin cancer screening is a visual inspection of your skin by a medical professional.  While screening for skin cancer, your physician may examine all the skin on the body, even places never exposed to the sun, such as the creases beneath the hips, around the genitals and behind the ears.  If an area on the skin looks abnormal, a biopsy is usually done.  The doctor will remove as much of the suspicious tissue as possible with a local excision and then a pathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

– Breast Cancer – Mammography is currently the most widely practiced type of examination of female breasts as a means of detecting pathological changes in the tissue early on.  A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast and are best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

– Prostate Cancer – The PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer.  The test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.  PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man’s bladder.  For the test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.

– Cervical Cancer – A Pap test (Pap smear) is a test of a sample of cells taken from a woman’s cervix or vagina during a pelvic exam.  The test is used to look for changes in the cells of the cervix or vagina and it is the best tool to detect precancerous conditions and hidden, small tumors that may lead to cervical cancer.

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please contact the Pacific Cancer Institute (PCI) today.  Our physician team and staff have extensive experience treating patients with radiation therapy.  Combined with the linear accelerator’s technology, PCI’s expert team delivers quality care in a compassionate manner.

For more information on the Pacific Cancer Institute, including the conditions we treat, please click here.