Cancer Screening Tests
CANCER SCREENING TESTS WITH PROVEN EFFICIENCY
Effective Cancer Screening TestsCancer screening tests aim to find cancer early, before it causes symptoms and when it may be easier to treat successfully. Effective screening tests are those that
- Find cancer early
- Reduce the chance that someone who is screened regularly will die from the cancer
- Have more potential benefits than harms. (Possible harms of screening tests include bleeding or other physical damage, inaccurate test results, and overdiagnosis—the diagnosis of cancers that would not have caused problems and did not need treatment.)
Low-dose helical computed tomographyThis test to screen for lung cancer has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths among heavy smokers ages 55 to 74. For more information, see the National Lung Screening Trial page and the PDQ® Lung Cancer Screening summary.
MammographyThis method to screen for breast cancer has been shown to reduce deaths from the disease among women ages 40 to 74, especially those over age 50. For more information, see the Mammograms fact sheet and the PDQ® Breast Cancer Screening summary.
Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) testingThese tests, which can be used both alone and in combination, can lead to both early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. They prevent the disease because they allow abnormal cells to be found and treated before they become cancer. Testing is generally recommended to begin at age 21 and to end at age 65 in women who have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer. For more information, see the Pap and HPV Testing fact sheet and the PDQ® Cervical Cancer Screening summary.
OTHER SCREENING TESTS
Screening tests not shown to be effective but still offered especially to people at increased risk of cancer. ALPHA FETO PROTEIN BLOOD TEST Used along with ultrasound of liver in an attempt to detect liver cancer early in high-risk individuals.For more information, see the PDQ® Liver (Hepatocellular) Cancer Screening summary.
BREAST MRIUsually advised in women who carry a genetic mutation in BRCA1/2 gene. Women with these mutations have a high risk of breast cancer and other cancers. For more information, see the BRCA Mutations: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing fact sheet and the PDQ® Breast Cancer Screening summary. CA-125 TEST Usually recommended in high-risk individuals for ovarian cancer. PSA TEST Usually performed along with digital rectal examination. Helps in detecting prostate cancer at an early stage. It is not recommended anymore as prostatic cancers are slow-growing and early detection does not contribute to reducing the chances of dying from prostatic cancer. For more information, see the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test fact sheet and the PDQ® Prostate Cancer Screening summary. SKIN TESTS Found to use in individuals who are susceptible and at high risk to develop skin cancers. It May does not reduce the chances of death from cancer. For more information, see the Common Moles, Dysplastic Nevi, and Risk of Melanoma fact sheet and the PDQ® Skin Cancer Screening summary. TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASOUND Useful in visualizing ovaries and uterus especially in women who are at increased risk of ovarian cancer (BRCA1/2 mutations) or endometrial cancer (lynch syndrome). For more information, see the PDQ® Ovarian Cancer Screening summary and the PDQ® Endometrial Cancer Screening summary. VIRTUAL COLONOSCOPY Test allows examination of colon and rectum from outside the body. It can reveal abnormalities within and outside the colon which might be evaluated further. Can be advised as a screening test in select individuals.
COMPLETE INFORMATION ABOUT SCREENING TESTS FOR SPECIFIC CANCER TYPE INCLUDING FOR THOSE IN DEVELOPMENT CAN BE ACCESSED AT THE PDQ® CANCER INFORMATION SUMMARIES: SCREENING/DETECTION (TESTING FOR CANCER)