Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

Cancer Screening

Cancer screening is simply the process of analysing a patient and finding out whether or not they have cancer. The main purpose of cancer screening is to diagnose the illness between any harmful symptoms appear, like with many ailments, the sooner cancer is detected and diagnosed the more effective treatment after will be.

This is especially true with cancer, if it is detected immediately then it can be fully removed and therefore completely cured. On the other hand, the longer it is left to develop the more damage it will have in the short term and long term. Once cancer spreads it will be able to reappear even when doctors think it has been fully removed.

Who Is Screened?

Obviously it would make sense, from a compassionate perspective, to screen everyone single person for cancer, unfortunately this simply is not possible due to financial constraints. Instead screening for cancer is performed on certain groups and certain groups are not focused on as much, this is done due to certain variables.

For instance, if screening for a certain type of cancer then a certain gender or age group will be heavily targeted if they are the most likely to develop that certain type of cancer. This means, in theory, that the screening process will detect cancer in the most people possible and therefore make the process as effective as possible. In a perfect world, most doctors and hospitals would like to screen everyone and not have to pick and choose certain people.

Types Of Screening

Every single case is different, the type of screening depends on the kind of cancer that doctors are trying to detect. No matter what the medical professionals are looking for, you can be sure that procedures such as blood tests and urine tests will be involved. However for certain types of cancers there will be other tests, breast cancer screenings may require a mammogram, whilst screening for prostate cancer will require a prostate examination.

Effectiveness Of Screening

The effectiveness of any screening for cancer is very high when the purpose is to detect a certain type of cancer, however since tests are specific for one type of cancer, it means the examination is insensitive to lots of other types of cancer. The risk of this is that someone may come away negative for the certain type of cancer that is being screened for, but it will not detect another type of cancer that the patient may be developing.

Risks Of Screening

One of the most obvious risks of screening for cancer is that some aspects of it can harm you. For instance sometimes patients will need to receive an x-ray, since x-rays work by using radiation, it can in fact cause cancer in healthy people, if they are exposed to the radiation for long enough.

Another risk of cancer screening is over the top analysis or diagnosis, whilst cancer is seen as universally deadly, some people will develop cancer that will develop so slowly, that it will not be life threatening. They could then receive intense treatment that actually does more harm than the cancer possibly could.