Screening Tests for Women Archive


What type of breast screening do you need?

Mammograms are still the gold standard method for breast screening, but additional imaging tests can help detect cancers that might otherwise be missed in women with dense breasts or other breast cancer risk factors. Ultrasound is inexpensive but has a high false-positive rate if used alone. MRI is expensive but very accurate for tumor detection. Three-dimensional mammograms are highly accurate but have a 50% false-positive rate over a decade of yearly screening in women ages 40 to 79.

Colon cancer screening decisions: What's the best option and when?

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and rates are rising, particularly in younger people. It can be prevented with screening tests; there are several different types of tests that are performed in different ways, and guidelines for when testing should begin and how often people should be tested.

Home screening options for colorectal cancer

There are several at-home screening tests for colorectal cancer. The most accurate are a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and a multitarget stool DNA (mt-sDNA) test (Cologuard), also known as a FIT-DNA test. The FIT test uses antibodies to detect blood in stool, and must be done once a year. The FIT-DNA test can identify DNA from cancer cells in the stool and also has a FIT component to look for blood. This test may be repeated once every three years.

Are women being over-diagnosed with thyroid cancer?

Compared to men, women may be over-treated for a certain type of thyroid cancer that is usually not dangerous.

Adding ultrasound to mammography improves cancer detection rate

A combination of mammography and ultrasound may increase accuracy of breast cancer screening.

7 strategies to prevent cancer

Making healthy lifestyle changes can prevent an estimated 40% of cancers. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a healthy body weight. People can also help prevent cancers by seeking recommended cancer screenings. Some screenings merely identify cancers early, but others, such as colonoscopies and Pap tests, can find precancerous conditions and are actually able to prevent cancer.

New recommendation: Earlier colorectal cancer screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that people begin colon cancer screening at age 45 (instead of 50) and continue through age 75. Some evidence suggests that healthy people older than 75 may also benefit from screening.

Breast centers out of step with federal mammography recommendations

Breast centers and the federal government often differ when it comes to breast cancer screening recommendations.

Women's group recommends more screenings for anxiety

Research we're watching

A national coalition of women's health organizations recommends screening all adolescent girls (ages 13 and older) and adult women for anxiety. The goal is to improve detection and treatment for this common condition. The Women's Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI) recommends screening to look for all types of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, in addition to depression screenings, which are already recommended for adults, says the WPSI. It would be up to individual clinicians to determine how often to do the screenings and to refer women and girls for follow-up examinations and screening.

Image: fizkes/Getty Images

Should we screen all adolescent girls and women for anxiety?

A national organization that evaluates research and makes recommendations for women's preventive health care is supporting screening all adolescent girls and women for anxiety disorders. While this idea has merit, there are also risks involved in screening that should be considered, and the benefits should be weighed against potential harms.

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