Published on Aug 06, 2020
Authored by Pfizer Medical Team
When it comes to your health—what you don't know—can hurt you. That's why healthcare providers recommend cancer screenings. These tests look for signs of cancer before you have any symptoms. Cancer screenings can be powerful tools that can help find the disease at an early stage, when it may be easier to treat. Most of the time screenings do not diagnose cancer. Instead, they help your healthcare provider see if you need more tests. For example, a mammogram may find a breast lump, but a lump doesn't always mean you have breast cancer. You would need a biopsy or another diagnostic test to find out if the lump is cancerous.
When it comes to screening tests, there are many different kinds available. Cancer screening tests can include:
Research studies have shown that some screening tests are accurate, safe, and useful. These screening tools then become standard tests, such as
Your healthcare provider may suggest other screenings for lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancer. These tests may be beneficial, especially for people who have an increased risk for that specific cancer type.
However, this is not a complete list of all available screenings. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider to decide which ones are recommended for you. Although some tests have not shown to reduce the risk of death from cancer, they may still be able to detect cancer early on.
Although cancer screenings have many benefits, you should also be aware of their potential risks:
Understanding the potential risks of any screening test that you're considering is important. Ask your healthcare provider to help you weigh those risks against the benefits.
Which screenings should you consider? That depends on several factors, such as your age, gender, and risk factors for certain cancers. To learn which screenings may be best for you, visit Cancer Screening in Australia or Time to Screen in New Zealand. You can also speak with your healthcare provider.
You can also find additional information under the External Resources section below.
Last reviewed: 19/08/2020
-Cancer Screening Australia
-New Zealand: Time to Screen
-Cancer Council Early Detection and Screening
-Cancer Society of New Zealand