Cancer can be detected early through certain exams and diagnostic procedures. This deadly disease can be cured much better during its early stages, and that is why it’s best identified before it has the chance to grow and spread to other areas of the body. Just recently, Dutch researchers have discovered a way to detect the presence of cancer especially before it reaches a more advanced stage. This test is proven accurate, and it involves only a drop of blood of the patient.
Before we take a look at this breakthrough, let us first tackle some of the most common methods used for the detection of cancer. There are different ones available. The right exams and diagnostic tests for a patient will be based upon certain factors. Some of them include the person’s age, medical history, the kind of cancer suspected, seriousness of the symptoms and the results of tests previously conducted.
The following are some of the usual exams and diagnostic tests that may be warranted:
• Barium enema – A liquid with a special dye (barium) is delivered to the colon via the anus. The patient then undergoes x-ray, revealing the outline of the colon as well as any abnormality present.
• Biopsy – This is the analysis of the tissue suspected to have cancer. In most types of cancer, a biopsy is the procedure that can provide a definite diagnosis.
• Bone scan – This diagnostic test helps a doctor determine the presence of signs that the bones are damaged by cancer or any other probable cause.
• CT Scan – Short for computer tomography scan, this diagnostic procedure allows for the detailed inspection of the organs with the use of x-rays.
• Endoscopy – In this exam, a thin tube with a camera (endoscope) is inserted into the patient’s body, allowing the doctor to view certain organs and determine whether or not abnormalities are present.
• Fecal occult blood test – FOBT for short, this exam helps determine the presence of blood in the stool. Blood in the stool may indicate colorectal cancer or a few other problems concerning the colon.
• MRI – MRI is short for magnetic resonance imaging. In this test, magnetic fields are employed to form a computer-generated image of the organ suspected of being afflicted with cancer.
• Mammography – This is a form of x-ray specifically designed for viewing the breast tissues. The resulting x-ray films referred to as mammograms can reveal tumors and other abnormalities present.
• Pap smear – Also sometimes called as pap test, this particular exam is used to detect early signs of cancer of the cervix as well as other changes in the said structure that calls for concern.
• PET scan – PET stands for positron emission tomography. This diagnostic procedure is utilized not only for determining the presence of cancer, but also identifying the stage of cancer.
• Tumor marker tests – In this procedure, certain substances (biomarkers) in the tissue, urine and blood are inspected to see if they are at abnormally high levels, which could suggest cancer.
• Ultrasound – This exam involves the use of high-frequency sound in order to create an image of an internal organ. It is also sometimes referred to as ultrasonography or sonography.
These are some of the most commonly performed exams and diagnostic procedures for the early identification of cancer. Now, the method discovered by Dutch researchers may also be added to the list.
The said method involves the testing of a single drop of blood in order to detect cancer in various forms. It is highly effective in determining cancer from an early stage to a more advanced stage. In fact, the involved experts say that this new method is 95% accurate in identifying most types of cancer. What’s even more impressive about it is it can reveal where the cancer originated in case it has already metastasized or spread to the other organs.