What Is Cancer Screening?
A cancer screening is a test (or tests) done to identify in an asymptomatic patient the presence of a particular type of cancer, or to identify the presence of health conditions that raise the risk of a particular cancer. This is important, as early detection of cancer usually makes it easier to treat it successfully. Cancer screening tests, however, do not diagnose cancer. More detailed tests are required for diagnosis upon the discovery of any abnormalities during screening. Health authorities have a number of recommended cancer screenings in Singapore.
Advantages Of Doing Cancer Screenings
- Cancer screening may help to detect any small changes in your body that might become cancerous.
- Screening exams may find cancer cells before you have any symptoms.
- Screening tests may contribute to cancer detection before it progresses into more advanced stages.
Cancer screening is not always accurate and there is the possibility of false-positive results. However, while it may then lead to unnecessary follow-up tests, this is arguably preferred to missing out on early cancer management which may happen if no cancer screenings are done in a timely manner.
What Are The Recommended Cancer Screening In Singapore
Singapore health experts’ recommendations help the public understand which are the essential cancer screening tests that should be taken, by who, and at what age to do so. These recommendations are consistent with those from the World Health Organization. A quick summary:
- Women aged 40-49 should get a mammograph screening once a year.
- Women aged 50-69 years old should get a mammograph screening once every 2 years.
- From the age of 25-29, women who have ever had sexual activity should be screened for cervical cancer (PAP smear), every 3 years.
- Women aged 30 and above who have ever had sexual activity should do a HPV DNA test every 5 years.
- For individuals with average risk, it is recommended to get your first screening at the age of 50. Faecal occult blood tests may be done yearly, and colonoscopy should be done at least once every 10 years.
- More frequent colonoscopy is recommended for those at higher risks of developing colorectal cancer.
What About Screenings For Other Types of Cancer?
The above-recommended cancer screenings are advisable for people that have lower or average cancer risk and no symptoms showing for those cancers. However, if you have any family history of cancer, or show any cancer symptoms, it may be advisable to undergo additional cancer screenings. You should consult your doctor on what screenings or tests would be most suitable for you.
Further Reading That Might Interest You
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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.