Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 1.81 crore cancer cases in 2020, says the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF). Breast and lung cancers were the most common cancers worldwide, contributing 12.5% and 12.2% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2020.
Although the data is alarming, advanced technologies have made effective treatments and therapies more accessible. The key is to get a timely diagnosis and detect the disease early. In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Ankita Pal Singh, Chief of Lab, Neuberg Diagnostics, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana State, shared important cancer screenings men and women should get.
Cancer Screening In Men
According to the WCRF, lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers are the most common cancers in men worldwide, contributing to 41.9% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
Dr Singh said, “Prostate cancer, a leading concern, can be addressed through routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests.”
She explained, “This simple yet crucial blood test aids in the early identification of potential issues, empowering men to take proactive steps towards a healthier future.”
Additionally, colorectal screenings are equally imperative, as colorectal cancer ranks high among preventable cancers, with screening methods including colonoscopies at the age of 50, the doctor added.
During a colonoscopy, a flexible tube with a light and camera is inserted through the rectum to examine the lining of the colon. The procedure allows for the detection of abnormalities like polyps or tumours, and if needed, the doctor can remove them or take tissue samples for further analysis.
To detect lung cancer, you can get imaging studies like chest X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans, which can identify abnormalities in the lungs. Additionally, you can also get bronchoscopy, where a flexible tube is passed through the airways to view and sample lung tissue, and a biopsy is employed to confirm the presence of lung cancer and determine its type and stage.
Cancer Screening In Women
The WCRF data suggests that breast, colorectal, and lung cancers are the most common cancers in women, accounting for 44.5% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
In addition, cervical cancer was the fourth most common cancer in women, accounting for 6.9% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2020.
To detect breast cancer, Dr Singh recommended mammography, which stands as a cornerstone in breast cancer prevention, allowing for the early detection of abnormalities in breast tissue.
She added, “Routine pap smears, on the other hand, are instrumental in identifying cervical cancer risks, providing women with valuable information to make informed decisions about their health.”
Between 30 and 50% of all cancer cases are preventable, says the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that “prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.”
According to Dr Singh, effective cancer prevention involves fostering awareness, taking decisive action, and ensuring timely screenings.
She said, “Embracing these measures empowers individuals to take charge of their health and is a collective stride towards a healthier, cancer-resilient community.”
“Regular check-ups and open communication with your healthcare team are key to maintaining good health and catching potential issues early,” she concluded.