6 tests involved in detection of cancer in women | Blog by Heena Chawla, Paras Bliss, Pachkula and Chandigarh

How do you detect cancer?

How do you detect cancer?

by: Dr. Heena Chawla
Consultant- Gynec-Oncology & Endoscopic Surgeon - Paras Bliss, Panchkula

There are certain signs and symptoms that are typical of cancer. If you are experiencing any of the same for a prolonged time, your cancer specialist may advise you to opt for a few tests. These tests can be invasive – such as a biopsy or noninvasive such as radiology tests. The list below includes the tests that the doctor may recommend.

Depending upon the site of cancer the set of tests may vary-

  1. Blood Tests -These samples are analyzed to see your general health status and how the other organs like liver and kidneys are functioning. Sometimes specific blood tests are known as tumour markers and electrophoresis are done to detect proteins and other chemicals made by the cancer cells.
  2. Radiological Investigations-
  • X-rays– In this, pictures are taken of the inside of your body parts like bones and joints, lungs and breast
  • Ultrasonography– This uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body.
  • Mammography– It is specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts. It aids in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women. It is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms.
  • CT scan– In this x-rays are used to build a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body.
  • MRI– In this magnetism is used to build up a detailed picture of areas of your body
  • PET scan– Positron emission tomography (PET) scan measure the activity of cells in different parts of the body by using low dose radiation.
  • Bone scan-It is used to identify abnormal areas of the bone by injecting a radioactive substance into the blood.
  1. Pap smear and FNAC (cytology)- In the Pap test, cells scraped from the cervix (mouth of the uterus) and examined under a microscope. It is used for cervical cancer screening. FNAC is a diagnostic procedure in which a needle is inserted into the body, and a small amount of tissue is aspirated and sent for examination.
  2. Biopsy– A small piece of tissue is taken and sent to the pathologist for examination under a microscope. A biopsy can be of many types depending upon the site of origin of cancer – Endometrial biopsy if there is suspicion of cancer of the uterus or bone marrow biopsy in cases of blood cell cancer.
  3. Endoscopy-
  • Upper GI endoscopy- in this a thin flexible tube with a camera at the end called endoscope is used to look inside the esophagus, stomach.
  • Colonoscopy- In this colonoscopy is used to look inside the bowel to detect bowel cancer.
  • Cystoscopy- A cystoscope (endoscope) is passed through the urethra to have a detailed look of the urinary bladder.
  1. Colposcopy– A specialized instrument called colposcope is used to obtain a magnified view of the cervix to detect cervical cancer.

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