Over the past several decades, cancer treatment has evolved dramatically with improved outcomes for patients of all backgrounds and ages. One of the most significant developments responsible for these improvements in cancer care is screening programs to detect certain types of cancer early on in their development. A cancer screening does not prevent cancer, but it does facilitate diagnoses that are much more treatable than late-stage cancers showing symptoms.
Screening schedules vary from person to person
There are general guidelines set by the National Cancer Institute for standard screenings for prostate, breast, gynecological, colorectal, and lung cancers. You might follow this standardized schedule, but certain risk factors may require earlier screenings or more frequent testing. Some screening procedures are also only recommended for patients with genetic risk factors or a previous cancer diagnosis.
Cancer screening is not risk free
The risks of common cancer screenings are generally low, but it is important to discuss any procedure with your physician before deciding if it is right for you. Some tests can also show false-positives or false-negatives, so further testing is often needed following abnormal or unexpected screening results.
Screening can significantly improve prognoses
Often the risks of any screening procedure are outweighed by the benefits in long-term care. Early detection through screening can reduce the risk of dying from certain cancers. Treatment is typically less complex at these stages, as cancer has not spread to other areas of the body such as the lymph nodes.
With the Cancer Center at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, you can find comprehensive cancer care including affordable screening and a regionally recognized Neuroscience Gamma Knife Center. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (805) 497-2727 to find an oncologist on our cancer care team. You can also explore our services by visiting our website.