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Cancer Screening Test


Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells (usually derived from a single abnormal cell).

The cells lose normal control mechanism and expand continuously, invade adjacent tissues and migrate to distant parts of the body.

Most common types of cancer in men are prostate, lung, colon and rectum, bladder and kidney cancer; and most common types of cancer in women are breast, lung, colon and rectum, uterus and thyroid gland cancer

India recorded around 3.9 million cancer cases in 2016

India accounts for third highest number of cancer cases among women after China and U.S.

Cancerous tissues can be divided into those of the blood and blood-forming tissues (leukemias and lymphomas) and “solid” tumors (a solid mass of cells), often termed cancer. Cancers can be carcinomas or sarcomas.

  • Leukemia and Lymphoma: cancer of blood and blood-forming tissues and cells of immune system. Leukemia arise from blood-forming cells and crowd out normal blood cells in the bone marrow and bloodstream. Cancer cells from lymphomas expand lymph nodes, producing large masses in the armpit, groin, abdomen, or chest
  • Carcinoma: cancer of cells that line the skin, lungs, digestive tract, and internal organs. E.g. skin, lung, colon, stomach, breasts, prostate, and thyroid gland cancer. Typically, carcinomas occur more often in older than in younger people.
  • Sarcoma: cancer of mesodermal cells that normally form muscles, blood vessels, bone, and connective tissue. E.g. leiomyosarcoma (cancer of smooth muscle that is found in the wall of digestive organs) and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Typically, sarcomas occur more often in younger than in older people.

Cancer is caused by gene mutations (changes in the DNA sequence). A gene mutation can instruct a healthy cell to allow rapid growth, fail to stop uncontrolled cell growth, and make mistakes while repairing DNA errors.

Signs and symptoms usually vary by part of body affected by cancer. However, some common signs and symptoms associated with cancer includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Lump or thickened area that can be felt under the skin
  • Weight changes, including unintended loss or gain
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin, sores that won't heal, or changes to existing moles
  • Changes in bowel / bladder
  • Persistent cough or trouble in breathing
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent indigestion
  • Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
  • Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Age – more common in older adults
  • Lifestyle – excessive smoking, drinking, high exposure to sun or frequent blistering sunburns
  • Family history of cancer increases your risk of developing cancer
  • Chronic health conditions like ulcerative colitis can increase the risk of developing certain cancers
  • Certain drugs and medical treatment might increase the risk of developing cancer
  • Environment surrounded by harmful chemicals like asbestos and benzene
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory tests like blood test, urine test to identify abnormalities
  • Imaging tests like CT scan, MRI, PET, ultrasound and X-ray
  • Biopsy
  • Specific cancer screen tests
  • Like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer in males
  • Papanicolaou (Pap) test for cervical cancer, mammography for breast cancer
  • Tumor markers
  • Carcinoembryogenic antigen (CEA) for colon cancer
  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) for liver cancer
  • Carbohydrate antigen 125 (CA-125) associated with ovarian cancer
  • Carbohydrate antigen 19.9 (CA-19.9) for cancers of digestive tract

Once diagnosed it is important to determine the extent (stage) of cancer. Cancer stage helps doctors in deciding treatment options and chances for a cure. Cancer stages are generally indicated by Roman numerals — I through IV, with higher numerals indicating more advanced cancer.

Cancer Screening

i. What are the early signs of cancer?+
ii.Do blood tests detect cancer?+
iii.How cancer screening is done?+
iv. What types of cancer screening tests are available?+