Why is Cancer Screening Important?

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Cancer is a condition that occurs when certain body cells grow abnormally and spread to other body parts.

Since the human body is made of billions of cells, cancer can occur everywhere. Human cells usually grow and divide through cell division. This produces new cells as the body requires them. Cells die when old or damaged, and new cells replace them.

When this routine process fails, abnormal or damaged cells proliferate and develop when they shouldn’t. Tumours (tissue growths) can develop from these cells. Tumours can either be cancerous or non-cancerous (benign).

Types of cancer  

There are many types of cancer, and a few are listed below.

Is cancer dangerous?  

Cancer is dangerous. When the body gets cancer, it spreads throughout the body parts.

Cancer is ranked the second most disease-causing death throughout the world. Yet, due to advancements in cancer detection, treatment and prevention, survival rates are rising for many types of the disease.

Diagnosing and treating cancer  

Cancer screening  

Cancer screening tests aim to identify pre-cancerous or early-stage cancer in asymptomatic persons to provide prompt diagnosis and early treatment, which may improve some patients’ results.

Certain cancer screening programmes are directed at persons who are more likely to get particular cancer due to behaviour or genetic predisposition. This is called targeted screening. An example of this would be lung cancer screening directed at people who use tobacco heavily.

A screening programme consists of more than one test. It also consists of a procedure and a process. The process begins by determining the target population or cohort—the individuals who are eligible for screening. Diagnosis and treatment are part of the screening procedure.

Why is cancer screening important?  

Cancer screening helps to improve the effectiveness and ease of treatment by detecting cancer early on and preventing it from multiplying.  

An individual’s chances of survival are improved if cancer is diagnosed earlier.

Early diagnosis makes the treatment less expensive, and the need for pharmacological and light therapy is reduced.

Early cancer diagnosis involves identifying the issue before it causes a person to experience the disease’s internal effects, such as pain or bleeding.

Getting screened confirms a diagnosis if the test is positive.

Cancer screening may help prevent cancer by identifying changes in the body that, if untreated, could develop into cancer.

Cancer screening aids in the early detection of the disease when it is more treatable, and there are fewer symptoms.

The probability of survival improves with earlier cancer detection.

Limitations of cancer screening  

In some situations, test results indicate that a person doesn’t have cancer but actually does. This is called a false positive.

There are situations when even if cancer is present, the test might not pick it up. This is called a false negative.

Some malignancies may not result in death or a worsening of life quality, which is over-diagnosis.

Screening testing could promote more potentially harmful examinations and procedures.

Cancer screening tests

Physical exam and history  

This is an examination of the body to look for general health indicators, including looking for disease indications like tumours or anything else that seems abnormal.  

Also, a history of the patient’s health practises, diseases and treatments in the past will be recorded.

A practising healthcare professional can predict the start of cancer in a patient’s body by performing a thorough general physical examination, reviewing personal medical history, and looking at the disease’s genetic and familial history.  

A routine cancer screening examination includes a search for any lumps or other abnormalities.

Laboratory tests  

These tests involve examining samples of the body’s tissues, blood, urine or other substances.

Cancer screening blood tests and mouth cancer screening tests are examples of the laboratory tests available for the screening and early identification of cancer. The following are some other laboratory tests:

Imaging tests  

Imaging tests are techniques for taking photographs of internal body parts.

Some imaging techniques may also be carried out as part of cancer screening testing to collect images of the body’s internal regions for additional study.  

Genetic tests

Genetics tests are a laboratory examination of cells or tissue to look for variations in genes or chromosomes. These modifications could indicate a person has or is at risk of having a particular disease or condition.

Genetic tests are conducted to look for genetic modifications or mutations in the body that may be signs of the symptoms of various types of cancer.

Recommended cancer screening

Many cancer screening procedures are reliable and advised by professional associations. The WHO recommends screening for cervix, breast and colon cancers with high-quality programmes for prompt diagnosis and treatment of these prevalent diseases.

Breast cancer screening

Women between the ages of 40 and 74 who undergo screening mammography between the ages of 50 and 69 have a lower risk of dying from the disease.

Professionals advise women at risk to begin screening at the age of 50.

Cervical cancer screening

Tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap smears, which can be done separately or in combination, are advised for cervical cancer screening. These tests help to prevent the disease by identifying abnormal cells and treating them before they develop into cancer.

Tests should normally start at age 21 and stop at age 65 (for women who have had prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer).

Colorectal cancer screening

Several screening procedures have been found to lower the chance of death from colorectal cancer, including colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and stool testing (high-sensitivity faecal occult blood tests and stool DNA tests).  

Colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy can aid in preventing the onset of the disease in addition to early detection of colorectal cancer. This is because these tests can detect polyps, which are abnormal colon growths that can be removed before they develop into cancer.

Most professionals advise having one of these tests performed between the ages of 45 and 75 on those who are at moderate risk for colorectal cancer.

Lung cancer screening

The mortality rate of heavy smokers from lung cancer has been demonstrated to be decreased with low-dose helical computed tomography, a form of CT scan.

Most expert organisations advise screening some current or past heavy smokers between the ages of 50 and 80.

Treating cancer effectively  

There are various types of cancer treatment. Some cancer patients will receive only one treatment. However, most patients receive a combination of treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Biomarker Testing for Cancer Treatment

The search for genes, proteins and other substances (also known as biomarkers or tumour markers) that can provide information about cancer is done through biomarker testing. Choosing a cancer treatment with the assistance of biomarker testing is possible.


Chemotherapy is a form of cancer treatment in which chemicals are used to kill cancer cells.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy can slow or even prevent breast and prostate cancers that require hormones to grow.


The cancer-fighting ability of the immune system is enhanced by immunotherapy.

Photodynamic Therapy

A medication that is triggered by light is used in photodynamic treatment to kill cancer cells and other abnormal cells.

Radiation Therapy

High doses of radiation are used in radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells and reduce tumour size.

Stem Cell Transplant

Those who have had their stem cells destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy can have their stem cells restored by stem cell transplantation.

Targeted Therapy

This type of cancer treatment targets the modifications in cancer cells that promote their growth, division and spread.


Surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer from the body to treat cancer.


Early cancer detection is possible with several cancer screening methods (e.g., mammography for breast cancer and low-dose CT for lung cancer).  

Some can diagnose cancer early on, which can help to stop the spread of cancer. Cancer screening is also recommended for people who don’t have any symptoms or signs of cancer.  

Reducing cancer morbidity and mortality is the primary objective of cancer screening. Effective screening lowers cancer-related diseases and fatalities. Although the advantages of adequate screening are known, it is important to recognise that screening can sometimes have negative effects; more screening is not necessarily better.

Ensure to use the most recent recommendations when discussing cancer screening and make it clear that not everyone requires screening. Only the appropriate people should receive it at the appropriate time.


Is cancer screening necessary?

Yes. Before a person experiences any symptoms, screening tests are done to diagnose cancer. So, it’s important to have routine screenings, even while feeling well. Certain alterations that may or may not be cancer can be detected by cancer screening testing.

How effective is cancer screening?

Effective screening lowers cancer-related diseases and fatalities.

How often should someone get a cancer screening?

Women between the ages of 40 and 44 should have the option to begin yearly mammograms (breast X-rays) for breast cancer screening if they choose to do so.
For people at risk for developing cancer, annual screenings are recommended with consultation from a doctor.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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