Cancer screening aims to detect cancers when an individual does not present with any symptoms. Ideally, these cancer screening tests are used to detect cancers at an early stage or even prevent cancers from developing. Yet, not all tests are proven to be effective in decreasing the mortality rate of cancers, some results may even be misleading, and taking some of the tests may possess risks. Therefore there are a lot to consider before deciding whether to receive a screening test or not.

Research has been done to find out the overall effectiveness and worthiness of various kinds of cancer screening tests, the results can be summed up as follow:

Recommended Tests
Cancer Tests Target Population
Colorectal -Annual Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
-Colonoscopy every 10 years
Individuals aged 50-75 with average risk
Cervical Cervical Pap Smear Women aged 25-64 who have ever had sexual contacts
Epithelial Ovarian -Serum CA125 measurement
-transvaginal ultrasound
Women with positive family history of ovarian cancer
Liver -HBV vaccination
-Periodic screening by AFP and ultrasound
-General public
-Chronic hepatitis carrier
Nasopharyngeal -EBV serology blood test
-nasopharyngoscopy
Aged 30-70 family members of nasopharyngeal cancer patients


Tests with insufficient evidence
Cancer Test Target Population
Breast -Mammography
-Routine breast selfexamination
General female population
Prostate Routine digital rectal examination Asymptomatic men
Cervical HPV DNA test Women aged 25-64 who have ever been sexually active
Lung Routine screening with low-dose spiral CT General population


Tests NOT recommended
Cancer Test Target Population
Prostate Routine use of PSA, especially for men over 70 years old Asymptomatic men
Liver Routine screening with AFP or ultrasound General population
Lung Routine screening with chest x-ray or sputum cytology General population
Stomach Routine endoscopic examination General population


All in all, whenever there are some abnormalities coming up, first thing to do is always consult a doctor before receiving any screening tests or treatments.

Cancer Prevention, Detection & Screening