Methods employed to detect cancer or abnormal cells that may turn cancerous when people do not have symptoms are considered as screening methods.
It is easier to treat an early cancer (WITHOUT SYMPTOMS) when it has not spread than when it has become symptomatic (MAY HAVE SPREAD).
Screening tests help in detecting cancer early and help in reducing the probability of death due to cancer.
DRAWBACKS OF CANCER SCREENING.
- FALSE POSITIVE RESULTS – Test indicates cancer is present when it may not be present. They cause anxiety and are usually followed by additional tests and procedures with their associated potential harms.
- FALSE NEGATIVE RESULTS – Test indicates cancer is not present when It is present. Unfortunately gives false assurance and delays the diagnosis and a prompt treatment when it could have been cured.
- OVER DIAGNOSIS – Screening test picks up a slow growing harmless cancer; the treatment of such tumors does not alter the lifespan of the individual even with the resultant additional treatment of the cancer diagnosed.
Screening can lead to overdiagnosis—that is, the screening test correctly shows that a person has cancer, but the cancer is slow growing and would not have harmed that person in his or her lifetime. Treatment of such cancers is called overtreatment.