source: Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology
The key issue for all cancer screening efforts is: Does screening improve survival? If a screening approach for a particular cancer is found not to improve survival then screening cannot be recommended. Other screening approaches must be found. In many types of cancer screening with presently available tools simply has not been found effective and therefore is not recommended. For colon, breast, cervical, prostate and melanoma, however, screening has been found to improve survival in the general population and is therefore a recommended. For each of these, however, caveats have arisen as screening efforts have been applied. For example, there are differing ages to begin and end for each and annual PSA for prostate cancer is no longer recommended as a general approach.
Screening approaches in less common but higher risk populations are often even more effective than those for the general population. This is particularly true for colon, breast and melanoma cancers where inherited genetic syndromes have been identified and genetic testing can be done for diagnosis. Those thereby found to have one of the inherited conditions should be involved in specifically tailored screening strategies to maximize cancer prevention and mortality reduction.
Huntsman Cancer Institute
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