During periodic routine health exams, in addition to obtaining a patient’s history,
health care providers may carry out a physical examination that could help detect
cancers of the breast, thyroid, oral cavity, skin, lymph nodes, testes, and ovaries.
If a sign, symptom, or finding on the physical exam warrants it, more tests may
be indicated. Often a biopsy is the only way to be sure whether or not cancer is
Although screening tests have the potential to extend lives or even prevent a death
from cancer, they can also have drawbacks. They may be costly in time and resources,
stressful, physically harmful, and misleading with false positives leading
to unneeded biopsies and other tests. They may also result in false negatives that
provide a false sense of security. Because new information is constantly being
obtained through research, screening recommendations are likely to change frequently.
Cancer experts often have legitimate disagreement about which screening
tests are appropriate, how frequently to test, and at what ages they should be used.
Furthermore, screening that is appropriate for one person’s health circumstances
is often different from that for another person. It is advisable to consult with your
health care provider about which screening tests should be undertaken and on what
schedule based on each person’s individual circumstances.
It is important to consult your health care provider and follow up-to-date cancer screening recommendations—they change when there is new scientific information. A good guide
can be found in the document, American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early
Detection of Cancer available at http://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.