What Is Cancer Screening?
Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) in people who have no symptoms is called screening. Screening can help doctors find and treat some types of cancer early. Generally, cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is found early. However, not all types of cancer have screening tests and some tests are only for people with specific genetic risks.
Overview of Cancer Screening and Testing
- NCI and Medical Decision Making
Information on NCI's role in support of medical decision making.
- Cancer Screening Overview (PDQ®)
Information about measuring the effectiveness of cancer screening tests and weighing the evidence from screening research studies.
- A Conversation with Dr. Virginia Moyer
Article from Nov. 27, 2012 Cancer Bulletin from the chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) about the task force’s mandate, challenges, and lessons learned.
- Crunching the Numbers: What Screening Statistics Really Tell Us
Article from May 1, 2012 Cancer Bulletin about the statistics that are used to describe the results of screening studies.
- Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cancer Screening
(Type: (MP3) | Time 6:09 | Size: 7.3 MB)
Read the Transcript
Podcast from Nov. 27, 2012 Cancer Bulletin, Drs. Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice discuss the benefits and harms of cancer screening and highlight popular misconceptions about cancer screening statistics.
Types of Screening Tests
- Information about cancer screening and the types of tests used to find cancer.
Screening for Specific Types of Cancer
For some types of cancer, research shows that using certain screening tests regularly will reduce deaths from that cancer.
For other types of cancer, screening methods are in use or being studied, but their ability to reduce the number of deaths from cancer has not been established.