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Cancer Screening : What , When , How?

Cancer Screening : What , When , How?

Posted On : July 23, 2019

Cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases affecting mankind. In India alone, over 7 lakh people are afflicted with cancer every year. Cancer comes in different varieties, with lung cancer in males and breast cancer in females making up a majority of the incidences in our nation.

The aim of cancer screening blood tests and other kinds of imaging tests is to detect the tumorous growth in its initial stages, before the onset of any major symptom. An effective screening test results in a considerable reduction in the mortality rate due to cancer. Another benefit of cancer screening is that it is useful in reducing the number of people who develop the disease.

What are the important tests that are conducted to detect cancer?

• Mammography:

This is a type of scanning test that uses X-rays to show tumours or abnormal growths in the breast, which can be seen in the images, or mammograms.

• Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy:

These tests help detect colorectal cancer in their earlier stages by finding the abnormal colon growths, or polyps before they assume cancerous proportions. The doctor uses a device called colonoscope, or sigmoidoscope, which is a flexible, lighted tube, to check the colon for polyps and cancer.

• Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT):

This also works on the principle of using x-rays to make detailed images of the lungs. A yearly lung cancer screening is recommended for those who have a history of, or are presently, smoking, and are between 55 to 80 years old. Of course, there are certain risks, such as the possibility of a false-positive result and complications due to repeated exposure to radiation. But the advantages of being cautious generally outweighs the risks.

• CA-125 Test:

This is a blood test that is generally done along with ultrasound, to detect for any signs of ovarian cancer in women.

• Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing:

These tests may be carried out together or individually, for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer. The abnormal cells can be treated before they advance into the cancerous stage.

• Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test:

PSA is a substance that is found at elevated levels in men who are affected with prostate cancer. This blood test measures the level of PSA to indicate any signs of this condition.

• Dermoscopy:

In this test, a handheld device is used by the doctor to examine the pigmentation patterns of skin lesions to check for signs of melanoma, or skin cancer.

• General health screening and checkup:

A complete physical examination to check for lumps or other abnormalities, especially in the nose, mouth, throat and teeth is recommended to screen for head and neck cancers.

When should we start testing for cancer?

There are many factors that need to be examined in order to determine an effective cancer screening timeline, such as food habits, type of lifestyle and profession etc. Though there is no specific point in a person’s life which can be pointed out with absolute certainty for commencing screening, in general, it is advisable to get yourself periodically checked to start in your twenties and up to the age of 65-80.

S.L Raheja is a state-of-the-art multispecialty hospital in Mumbai with special expertise in the field of oncology. The cancer test costs are affordable, and, in any case, the monetary costs are worth the trouble saved later on.

Know more about Cancer Care 


Author: SL Raheja Hospital 

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