Cancer screening for the general population

cancer-screening

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.

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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
Ultrasound examination Yearly
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