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How to spot cancer early?


Detecting cancer at an early stage means to identify the cancer before it produces symptoms. This can be challenging as cancer in its initial stages manifests in subtle symptoms which are missed or ignored. Some symptoms which may require further examination to rule out cancer are:

  • Change in regular bowel or bladder pattern
  • Any ulcer which does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Thickening in the breast
  • Indigestion
  • Obvious change in a wart or a mole
  • Nagging cough
  • Unusual loss of weight
  • Sudden fever
  • A white patch in the mouth
Cancer Screening Test Bangalore
Cancer Screening Test

Breast Cancer

Age

The proposed age to begin screening for breast cancer is 25 years. Women should know how their normal breast looks and should report if there is any variance in size, color, contours or shape. From the age of 40 women are advised to undergo a mammogram annually.

Tests
  • Breast Self Examination
  • Clinical Breast Examination
  • Mammogram – Digital X-ray of the breast is done which will detect non palpable lumps or early cancer.
  • Breast Ultrasound
  • Breast MRI scan
  • Breast Biopsy/ FNAC
Types

In situ (Non- invasive) Breast Cancer - which have not spread

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ

Invasive (Infiltrating) Breast Cancer - which have spread

  • Invasive Ductal carcinoma
  • Invasive Lobular carcinoma
Side Effects

pain at incision site after breast biopsy / over diagnosis

Age

The proposed age to begin screening for breast cancer is 25 years. Women should know how their normal breast looks and should report if there is any variance in size, color, contours or shape. From the age of 40 women are advised to undergo a mammogram annually.

Tests

  • Breast Self Examination
  • Clinical Breast Examination
  • Mammogram – Digital X-ray of the breast is done which will detect non palpable lumps or early cancer.
  • Breast Ultrasound
  • Breast MRI scan
  • Breast Biopsy/ FNAC
Types

In situ (Non- invasive) Breast Cancer - which have not spread

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ

Invasive (Infiltrating) Breast Cancer - which have spread

  • Invasive Ductal carcinoma
  • Invasive Lobular carcinoma
Side Effects

pain at incision site after breast biopsy / over diagnosis

Colorectal Cancers

Age
  • Regular screening is advised after the age of 45 years
  • A colonoscopy is advised every 5 years after the age of 45 year.
Tests

Stool based tests

  • Fecal immunological test also known as immunological fecal occult blood test (iFOBT): This test will identify any hidden blood in the stool which is indicative of an intestinal abnormality.
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT): This detects hidden blood in stool through a chemical reaction
  • Stool DNA test: will identify certain abnormal sections in the genes which are caused due to cancer.

Visual Tests

  • Colonoscopy – every 5 years
  • CT colonoscopy
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Types
  • Adenocarcinoma : Most common type of cancer
  • Carcinoid tumors : They begin from hormone-making cells in the colon
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) : these tumors originate from the intestinal cells of Cajal, which line the colon
  • Lymphomas : Occur when there is cancer in the lymph nodes around the colon
  • Sarcomas : they begin in the blood vessels, muscle layers or other connective tissues surrounding the colon and rectum. they are a rare form of cancer in the colorectal region.
Side Effects
  • the visual tests will require full bowel preparation (enema)
  • There may be some discomfort after the visual tests
  • Since anaesthesia is used to perform the visual tests, there may be some drowsiness after the test is over.
Age

  • Regular screening is advised after the age of 45 years
  • A colonoscopy is advised every 5 years after the age of 45 year.
Tests

Stool based tests

  • Fecal immunological test also known as immunological fecal occult blood test (iFOBT): This test will identify any hidden blood in the stool which is indicative of an intestinal abnormality.
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT): This detects hidden blood in stool through a chemical reaction
  • Stool DNA test: will identify certain abnormal sections in the genes which are caused due to cancer.

Visual Tests

  • Colonoscopy – every 5 years
  • CT colonoscopy
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Types

  • Adenocarcinoma: Most common type of cancer
  • Carcinoid tumors: They begin from hormone-making cells in the colon
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs): these tumors originate from the intestinal cells of Cajal, which line the colon
  • Lymphomas: Occur when there is cancer in the lymph nodes around the colon
  • Sarcomas: they begin in the blood vessels, muscle layers or other connective tissues surrounding the colon and rectum. they are a rare form of cancer in the colorectal region.
Side Effects

  • the visual tests will require full bowel preparation (enema)
  • There may be some discomfort after the visual tests
  • Since anaesthesia is used to perform the visual tests, there may be some drowsiness after the test is over.

Lung Cancer

Age

yearly low dose CT scans are advised from 55 years onwards people who are in fairly good health and have smoked or quit smoking in the past 15 years.

Tests
  • Sputum Cytology: a test is done on the mucus that comes from your cough. For this test,three samples are required, early morning every day for three days.
  • Chest X Ray: if there is something suspicious found in the x ray, the doctor may further recommend tests.
  • CT Scan: A cross sectional image of the lung will help in detecting abnormalities in the lung.
  • Biopsy: in case there is a node or a suspicious lesion which the doctor wishes to test further, this test will help to confirm the cells. The biopsy of the lung tissue is done using a bronchoscope.
  • FNAC
Types
  • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
    • Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Adenocarcinoma
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Lung Carcinoid Cancer
Side Effects

There are usually no side effects after any of the scans and x rays. During a bronchoscopy examination, the patient is usually sedated. there may be some pain, discomfort and drowsiness after the test is done.

Age

yearly low dose CT scans are advised from 55 years onwards people who are in fairly good health and have smoked or quit smoking in the past 15 years.

Tests

  • Sputum Cytology: a test is done on the mucus that comes from your cough. For this test,three samples are required, early morning every day for three days.
  • Chest X Ray: if there is something suspicious found in the x ray, the doctor may further recommend tests.
  • CT Scan: A cross sectional image of the lung will help in detecting abnormalities in the lung.
  • Biopsy: in case there is a node or a suspicious lesion which the doctor wishes to test further, this test will help to confirm the cells. The biopsy of the lung tissue is done using a bronchoscope.
  • FNAC
Types

  • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
    • Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Adenocarcinoma
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Lung Carcinoid Cancer
Side Effects

There are usually no side effects after any of the scans and x rays. During a bronchoscopy examination, the patient is usually sedated. there may be some pain, discomfort and drowsiness after the test is done.

Prostate Cancer

Age

Men in the age group of 50 years are at high risk of getting prostate cancer especially if they have a history of a first degree relative who has had prostate cancer at an early age.

Tests
  • Medical examination: urinary and sexual dysfunction
  • Physical Examination: Digital rectal examination
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test: used to screen for prostate cancer in men who have symptoms
  • Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS): A small probe is inserted into the rectum in order to visualize the prostate through ultrasound waves
  • Prostate Biopsy
    • TRUS guided biopsy
    • Fine Needle Aspiration: a thin hollow needle is inserted to the prostate for a sample for microscopic examination
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
Types

Adenocarcinoma: cancer which develops from the gland cells

Side Effects

There may be slight discomfort after digital rectal examination Pain may be experienced after TRUS guided biopsy and fine needle biopsy

Age

Men in the age group of 50 years are at high risk of getting prostate cancer especially if they have a history of a first degree relative who has had prostate cancer at an early age.

Tests

  • Medical examination: urinary and sexual dysfunction
  • Physical Examination: Digital rectal examination
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test: used to screen for prostate cancer in men who have symptoms
  • Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS): A small probe is inserted into the rectum in order to visualize the prostate through ultrasound waves
  • Prostate Biopsy
  • TRUS guided biopsy
  • Fine Needle Aspiration: a thin hollow needle is inserted to the prostate for a sample for microscopic examination
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
Types

Adenocarcinoma: cancer which develops from the gland cells

Side Effects

There may be slight discomfort after digital rectal examination Pain may be experienced after TRUS guided biopsy and fine needle biopsy

Cervical Cancer

Age

Women should start cervical cancer screenings by getting a Pap test at 21. The test should be taken every 3 years until 30. From 30 onwards, an HPV test should be taken along with the Pap test as well.

Tests
  • Pap Test - The pap test would detect abnormal cells in the cervix, including the cancer cells
  • and those cells that show changes, increasing the risk of cervical cancer
  • cancer cells and those cells that show changes, increasing the risk of cervical
  • cancer
Types
  • Squamous cell carcinomas - Most common (9 out of 10); the cancers develop mostly in the transformation zone, where the exocervix joins the endocervix.
  • Adenocarcinomas - The next common types growing in popularity over these recent decades; occurring in the mucus-producing glands of the endocervix.
  • Adenosquamous carcinomas - Less common, having features of both the other types.
Side Effects
  • Mild discomfiture from the scraping or a bit of cramping
Age

Women should start cervical cancer screenings by getting a Pap test at 21. The test should be taken every 3 years until 30. From 30 onwards, an HPV test should be taken along with the Pap test as well.

Tests

  • Pap Test - The pap test would detect abnormal cells in the cervix, including the cancer cells and those cells that show changes, increasing the risk of cervical cancer
  • HPV DNA test - The HPV DNA test tests the cells for infection against those types of HPV, known to most likely cause cervical cancer.
Types

  • Squamous cell carcinomas - Most common (9 out of 10); the cancers develop mostly in the transformation zone, where the exocervix joins the endocervix.
  • Adenocarcinomas - The next common types growing in popularity over these recent decades; occurring in the mucus-producing glands of the endocervix.
  • Adenosquamous carcinomas - Less common, having features of both the other types.
Side Effects

  • Mild discomfiture from the scraping or a bit of cramping
  • Very light vaginal bleeding sometimes.

Oral Cancer

Age

For those who have a history of tobacco chewing or smoking must get a regular check of the oral cavity done.

Tests
  • Clinical examination of the oral cavity
  • Indirect pharyngoscope and laryngoscope
  • Direct (Flexible) pharyngoscope and laryngoscope
  • Panendoscopy
  • Tissue biopsy
    • Excisional biopsy
    • Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy
  • Exfoliative cytology
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • Barium swallow
Types
  • Leukoplakia is a white or gray patch.
  • Erythroplakia is a flat or slightly raised, red area that often bleeds easily if it's scraped.
  • Erythroleukoplakia is a patch with both red and white areas.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
Side Effects

Only incisional or FNAC biopsies may be painful. Other tests are non invasive and do not hurt.

Age

For those who have a history of tobacco chewing or smoking must get a regular check of the oral cavity done.

Tests

  • Clinical examination of the oral cavity
  • Indirect pharyngoscope and laryngoscope
  • Direct (Flexible) pharyngoscope and laryngoscope
  • Panendoscopy
  • Tissue biopsy
    • Excisional biopsy
    • Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy
  • Exfoliative cytology
  • CT Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • Barium swallow
Types

  • Leukoplakia is a white or gray patch.
  • Erythroplakia is a flat or slightly raised, red area that often bleeds easily if it's scraped.
  • Erythroleukoplakia is a patch with both red and white areas.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
Side Effects

Only incisional or FNAC biopsies may be painful. Other tests are non invasive and do not hurt.

Benefits of Screening Tests

  • The reassurance that the result are normal
  • Screening tests may help find changes in the body which could be cancerous if left untreated
  • Cancer screening will help to detect cancer in its early stages making it easier to treat
  • Earlier detection may mean less treatment needed and quicker healing
  • The sooner the cancer is detected, the greater the survival rate after treatment

Authored By : Dr. Shiva Kumar Uppala

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