Whenever there is a suspicion of cancer, there are a certain set of tests that are done. In fact, the thumb rule in cancer is early detection and timely treatment. Ignoring your signs and symptoms can further complicate your health and increase your chances of mortality. It is important that you opt for the right tests and consult the related doctors. In India, more than 75% of the cancer cases diagnosed are usually in the last stage. This increases the cost of treatment and limits the specialists with fewer choices for managing and treating cancer.
Tests recommended for Cancer Detection:
Depending upon the site of cancer the set of tests may vary-
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 tumor markers and electrophoresis are done to detect proteins and other chemicals made by the cancer cells.
X-rays- in this picture are taken of the inside of your body parts like bones and joints, lungs and breast
Ultrasonography- uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body.
Mammography- 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.
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
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, eg- endometrial biopsy if there is suspicion of cancer of the uterus or bone marrow biopsy in cases of blood cell cancer.
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 at the urinary bladder.
Colposcopy– A specialized instrument called colposcope is used to obtain a magnified view of the cervix to detect cervical cancer.