Cancer screening for the general population
Many people have the misconception that blood test is a good screening tool for all sorts of medical conditions and that includes cancer markers to detect cancer.A blood-cancer marker is a substance produced in the body by cancerous cells. It is also made by some normal cells, although the levels tend to be much higher when there is cancer.
While some cancer makers can be considered for individuals with risk factors, many cancer markers are not recommended as a screening tool by many experts.
Generally, cancer markers are most useful when used to monitor response to cancer treatment and to screen for cancer recurrence.
Like essential health screening tests, there are also some cancer screening modalities considered to be essential for the general population.
|Cancer Type||Screening Test Options||Frequency||Target Group|
|Breast Cancer||Mammography||Yearly||Women age 40-49 years old|
|2-Yearly||Woman age 50 years old and above|
|Clinical Breast Examination||Yearly||Woman age 30 years old and above|
|Breast MRI and specialist review||Women suspected to be at high genetic risk for breast cancer|
|Colorectal Cancer||Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)||Yearly||Average risk, asymptomatic individual, from age 50 years old and above|
|Colonoscopy||Every 10 years|
|CT colonoscopy||Every 5 years|
|Barium Enema||Every 5 years|
|Cervical Cancer||PAP smear||3-Yearly||All women who have ever had sex, from age 25 - 69 years old|
|Yearly||Women who are HIV positive or immunocompromised|
|Liver Cancer||Blood test: Alpha-feto protein||6-monthly||Patients with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or liver cirrhosis|
|Prostate Cancer||Blood test: PSA||Yearly||For men aged 55 to 69 years, to discuss with doctors of the risk and benefit before testing|
|2-yearly if <1.0 ng/ml|