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What is cancer screening?

When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat.

Cancer screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have grown and spread, this can make cancer harder to treat or cure.



There are different kinds of screening tests that include the following:
*PHYSICAL EXAM AND HISTORY: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
*LABORATORY TESTS: Medical procedures that test samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body.
*IMAGING PROCEDURES: Procedures that make pictures of areas inside the body.
*GENETIC TESTS: Tests that look for certain gene mutations (changes) that are linked to some types of cancer.

For the Institute of Interventional Oncology (IDOI México) it is important to point out that when doctors suggest a screening test, it does not always mean they think it could be cancer.

Screening tests usually do not diagnose cancer. If a screening test result is abnormal, more tests may be done to check for cancer. For example, a screening mammogram may find a lump in the breast. A lump may be cancer or something else. More tests need to be done to find out if the lump is cancer. These are called diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests may include a biopsy, in which cells or tissues are removed so a pathologist can check them under a microscope for signs of cancer.

IDOI México recommends you to talk with your doctor about when and how often you should be screened. Depending on personal health history, family health history, or screening results, your doctor may recommend a different screening schedule.