Early detection & screening techniques in Cancer


Early cancer detection means to take actions as early as possible to diagnose cancer. Cancer can be cured completely if detected at an early stage. The goal of early cancer detection is to test and identify cancers at an early stage before symptoms begin. Early detection methods include cancer screening, i.e. cancer cells or tissues are screened without any symptoms.


Early cancer detection also means recognition of cancer symptoms, such as detecting a new mole on the skin and having the mole checked by a dermatologist to verify that it is not an early sign of melanoma.


Early detection does not always ensure a positive prognosis; however, the results in most cases can certainly be improved. The chances of best outcomes from early cancer detection is high in patients with initial stages of breast cancer, brain tumours, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer.


Annual mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies are some examples of cancer screening methods that detect early forms of breast cancer, cervical cancer and colon cancer, respectively. Newer early detection methods include genetic testing, fluid biopsy testing and population-based testing, the latter being targeted at specific populations at high risk.


We will discuss screening techniques of some of the common cancers in India: