Diagnostics are for determining if a person has any ailments. But while they can reveal serious diseases, screening tests can be hazardous, particularly cancer screening. But why and how would diagnostics cause such danger to your health? The following are the pros and cons of regular cancer screening.
Benefits Of Screening
1.The screening process can help detect and identify breast cancer and other types of cancers early. The earlier it’s found, the less likely it’s to undergo chemotherapy and mastectomy. Chemotherapy kills both the healthy and the cancer cells. Mastectomy removes the breast to stop the spread of cancer. If breast cancer can be controlled at its early stage, you have a better chance of surviving the illness.
2.Getting screened helps you prevent cancer by showing signs to your doctor that may eventually progress to cancer later. Sometimes the changes in your body alone can indicate signs of cancer. But getting screened provides another reassurance that you’ll get the best treatment possible. You can check here to get more information on the MRI procedure for an accurate full-body screening.
3.Biennial mammographic screening can reduce breast cancer mortality rate up to 15%, equating to a 0.05% reduction. Once this cancer’s presence is fully recognized, treatment can commence, and the spread of cancer cells can be prevented.
Disadvantages Of Cancer Screening
1.Cancer screening can sometimes produce a false negative result. There may be some other type of existing cancer in the body. Whatever the case, it’s essential to speak to your doctor about any noticeable abnormalities you see or feel in your body.
2.Screening may also result in a false positive, and it’s common among patients. Over the last decade, over 50-61% of women who had undergone mammography had a false-positive result. It was also the same for 10-12% of men who went for PSA testing. As a result, those who had quite a scare had refused to take future screening tests.
3.Cancer screening has resulted in overtreatment. Some signs such as lesions have been mistaken as cancer-related, resulting in the one-size-fits-all approach to detecting cancers. Also, benign cancers that had no danger to human health were still seen as a threat. Overdiagnosis is also an issue because some cancers don’t need any treatment at all. It could lead to more procedures that can cause more harm than good.
4.False positives have caused a lot of emotional turmoil in patients. At least one out of 25 women will be called back for further monitoring. It’s likely because of an unclear mammogram result. But those who had the same results are found to have no cancer at all. And it can be emotionally draining after spending the day worried about cancer.
5.Pap smear, a screening procedure, can help detect the presence of cervical cancer. It identifies cells that are caused by sexually transmitted infections. Pap smears collect cells from the surface of the cervix. It’ll result in mild bleeding and cramping due to scratches or sensitivity. Similarly, patients who need screening are often exposed to radiation from X-rays, but there have been cases that wasn’t required due to misdiagnosis.
When Is A Screening Test Actually Helpful?
Getting a screening test for cancer should be your choice. You’re only sent an invitation for screening, to which you grant permission to undergo the procedure. To help you decide, the World Health Organization released a new set of criteria whether you should get a test or not:
• Screening tests must be safe and won’t cause harm to the patient.
• Patients with diseases that have serious consequences should only be the ones to undergo the screening test to clarify its benefits in the detection and treatment of the disease.
• If there are inconclusive partial results, the patient has the right to know about it to help them decide whether to receive cancer screening or not.
• The treatment should be reliable at the earliest stage of the disease, and medical proof should be provided for stating its effectiveness at the beginning before symptoms become worse.
There are various screen tests you should get annually to ensure that you get to keep your good health and detect anomalies that could put you at risk. The world is still currently in a pandemic state, and those with preexisting conditions are at risk of getting the coronavirus. A screening test may help determine if you’re at risk of cancer, but the process is only worth it if it’s not causing you harm.
Reasons Not to Get Cancer Screening
Cancer screening isn’t always beneficial to everyone. Health practitioners only offer to screen those at the ages that will benefit from the procedure. At times, seniors may not be able to withstand specific screening procedures for health-related reasons.
Here are the guidelines on when to stop or limit screening tests:
• Pap Smears – ages between 21 and 65 was the recommended age for this test. Stop at age 65 if previously found no trace of cervical cancer. Only those with a history of the severe cervical pre-cancer condition should continue testing for 20 years after diagnosis.
• Colonoscopy – stops at age 75 if the last test found no trace of colorectal cancer.
• Mammography – if found negative, should stop at 75 years old. Testing for breast cancer should be once a year or once in two years.
• Prostate-Specific Antigen — Stop blood test measuring the presence of prostate-specific antigen to detect prostate cancer.
• Lung Cancer Screening — screening for lung cancer should only be done if you’ve been an active smoker that gave up the habit within the past 15 years. Testing might also be needed if an active smoker has had a pack of cigarettes per day for the whole year.
Furthermore, it was decided that seniors that aren’t expected to live past ten years due to ailments don’t need screening tests as their conditions aren’t likely to improve. Elderly patients with heart disease or diabetes won’t benefit from the test than healthy and young patients.
While cancer screening has helped detect certain types of cancers, there have been proven risks found in undergoing the screening. It can potentially cause physical harm as a result of specific procedures such as bleeding and pain. In some cases, radiation exposure as well. The process is not for everyone and should be optional.