Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no symptoms is called screening.


• Mammography
Mammography is the most common screening test for breast cancer. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast to find tumors that are too small to feel.

• What is the advantage of doing a mammogram?
For women aged 40 to 74 years, screening with mammography has been associated with a 15% to 20% relative reduction in mortality due to breast cancer.

• How is it done?

Mammography. The breast is pressed between two plates. X-rays are used to take pictures of breast tissue.

How often should it be done?
Women aged 5o and above should do it annually. If a person has a strong family history then it should be done at an earlier age.


• What is done for screening?

A stool test called fecal occult blood examination.

• Fecal occult blood test
A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a test to check stool for blood that can only be seen with a microscope. Blood in the stool may be a sign of polyps or cancer.

• Sigmoidoscopy
Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look inside the rectum and sigmoid (lower) colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer.

Sigmoidoscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the anus and rectum and into the lower part of the colon to look for abnormal areas.


Colonoscopy is a procedure to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer.

• Who should undergo the screening?

People above the age of 50
Individuals with strong family history of cancer
Any individual with long standing anemia, blood in stools and recent changes in bowel habits


A Pap test is commonly used to screen for cervical cancer.

Pap test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina to widen it. Then, a brush is inserted into the vagina to collect cells from the cervix. The cells are checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

• Who should undergo the screening?
Regular screening of women between the ages of 21 and 65 years with the Pap test decreases their chance of dying from cervical cancer.

• Who should do it and how frequently?
Women who are sexually active. Done annually or atleast once in two years.


• Who should do it?
Males above the age of 50.

• What is done?
A blood test - PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
DRE - Digital rectal examination

• How frequently?

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