Diagnosis & Screening of Cancer

Diagnosis of cancer typically involves a combination of methods, including physical exams, imaging tests, and laboratory tests. A biopsy, or the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope, is often used to confirm a cancer diagnosis and determine its type and stage.

Screening for cancer involves testing individuals who do not have any symptoms of cancer but may be at risk for the disease due to age, family history, or other factors. Screening tests can help detect cancer at an early stage, when it is more treatable.

The type of screening test used for cancer depends on the type of cancer being screened for. Some common screening tests for cancer include:

  • Mammography: a type of X-ray used to screen for breast cancer in women
  • Pap smear: a test used to screen for cervical cancer in women
  • Colonoscopy: a test used to screen for colorectal cancer
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer in men
  • Low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan: a type of X-ray used to screen for lung cancer in individuals at high risk for the disease.

It is important to note that while cancer screening can be helpful in detecting cancer at an early stage, it is not perfect and may sometimes lead to false positives or false negatives. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider about the benefits and limitations of cancer screening tests and to discuss individual risk factors and screening options.

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