Cancer Screening & Diagnostics

Cancer Screening & Diagnostics

Quest of Cancer

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Screening, detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of Cancer. Striving for early, accurate, safe and cost effective methods.

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Cancer screening aims to discover cancer earlier than symptoms (would) appear or prevent it entirely. Depending on the type of cancer, the methods of screening include (but are not limited to) medical imaging, biomarkers in blood and urine tests, and DNA tests. Universal screening involves all people within a certain age and gender group whereas selective screening examines specific people known to have a higher than average risk of cancer.



For screening to be effective, the benefits of screening for cancer must outweigh the risks. Deciding to test for (a type of) cancer depends on many factors, such as age, gender, environmental exposure, and personal and familial history. 

The use of cancer screening methods depends on which cancer is being suspected.

Cancer screening might involve:



  • Pap smears (cervical cancer)
  • Colonoscopies (colon cancer)



  • X-rays 
  • Mammograms (breast cancer)
  • MRI (breast cancer in BRCA1/BRCA2 positive women)


Blood tests:

  • Alfa-fetoprotein (liver cancer)
  • CA-125 or cancer antigen 125 (ovarian cancer)
  • PSA or prostate-specific antigen (prostate cancer)


Urine tests:


Stool tests:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) (colon cancer)
  • Stool DNA testing (colon cancer)

Genetic tests:

  • BRCA1 / BRCA2 (breast cancer, ovarian cancer)



  • The use of cancer screening among the correct (sub)population discovers cancer prior to the onset of symptoms and decreases cancer mortality;
  • In some cases and types of cancer, detecting and removing cancer precursors (or acting on knowledge of genetic risks, such as the presence of mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2) can prevent cancer entirely;
  • Screening might decrease cancer morbidity because (less rigorous) treatment is likely to cause fewer side effects if the cancer is caught early.



  • Method-related complications, although usually minor, do occur. These harms might be immediate (colonoscopy-related perforation) or delayed (radiation exposure over time might itself cause cancer);
  • Overdiagnosis happens when the discovered tumor is likely to be benign and would not become clinically relevant without screening (thereby possibly putting healthy people at risk from complications received after unnecessary treatment);
  • A false positive test result might lead to anxiety and put the individual at risk from unnecessary invasive procedures.


Types of cancer:

  • Adrenal cancer
  • Anal cancer
  • Appendix cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Gestational trophoblastic disease
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Mesothelioma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Oral cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Sinus cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Spinal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Vulvar cancer


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Nov 12, 2020

November 11, 2020 — Digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), in combination with synthetic mammography, improves cancer detection over digital mammography alone, according to a study from Italy published in the journal Radiology.

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Nov 07, 2020

Ludwig Cancer Research scientists have developed a method to significantly improve the preclinical evaluation of chimeric antigen-receptor (CAR) T cell therapies, in which the immune system's T cells are extracted from a patient, engineered to target a specific tumor-associated molecule and then grown and reinfused for cancer treatment.

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Oct 17, 2020

Learn about five exciting new research areas leading to new treatment options and advances in medicine for lung cancer and mesothelioma patients.

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Oct 17, 2020

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Oct 17, 2020

Scientists have created a three-dimensional (3-D) tumor model in the laboratory for ovarian cancer that could lead to improved understanding and treatment of the disease.

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Oct 05, 2020

A new study on medical imaging agents shows common pigments and dyes could help with early diagnosis

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Sep 07, 2020

Since cancer stem cells (CSCs) were first identified in leukemia in 1994, they have been considered promising therapeutic targets for cancer therapy.

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Aug 20, 2020

The advantages of Carbo-gel make it a candidate for improved and safer treatment of cancer because the marker and injection procedure are well-tolerated. Once it is injected, it forms a positionally stable marker. It has intrinsic radiographic, magnetic resonance and ultrasound visibility and is easily expanded to also have nuclear and fluorescence imaging properties. Based on these features the marker can improve the precision of therapeutic procedures such as radiotherapy, surgery, image-guided surgery and robotic surgery.

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Aug 02, 2020

Measuring the methylation status of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma holds great potential for the early, noninvasive detection of cancer. Two recent papers published in Nature Medicine showcase the successful application of cfDNA methylation-based cancer detection to two highly challenging scenarios.

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