The morbidity and mortality rates indicate that the majority of cancer patients are diagnosed and treated at an advanced stage, when the patient is still treatable but the prospects for an effective cure are limited. At the same time, a significant proportion of cancer deaths could be avoided, given the current state of medical science.
Some cancers should be screened for at a young age. However, the incidence of most cancers only increases with age, particularly after 40 and 50. The most common cause of death from cancer is lung cancer4, followed by colorectal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer5.
Tumours of the lung and thoracic organs
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Its incidence increases over the age of 50. The most common risk factor is smoking (both active and passive), with the risk persisting for up to 15 years after smoking cessation. There is also an increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, a family history of lung cancer and certain occupational diseases.
For patients over 50 years of age, we recommend low dose chest CT (LDCT), which has been shown to reduce lung cancer mortality by 25% in both smokers and non-smokers6.7 CT scans at an earlier age may be considered for heavy smokers and those with a significant risk factor, on medical advice. For patients under 50 years of age without a risk factor, chest X-ray is recommended.
Colon and abdominal tumours
The incidence of colon tumours increases over the age of 45-50 years, with symptoms of abdominal pain, haemoptysis, change in bowel movements, weight loss. As the development of colon cancer is a very long process and is not symptomless for a long time, it can be prevented by screening.
Tumours and pre-cancerous conditions can cause microscopic (not visible to the naked eye) amounts of bleeding, so the detection of blood in faeces is a widely used and simple, painless screening method.
A specialist gastroenterology examination involves an assessment of individual risk, a physical examination including palpation of the abdomen and rectal digital examination. The need for colonoscopy (whether for screening or investigation of complaints) is determined during a gastroenterology consultation.
Abdominopelvic ultrasound gives an image of the shape, structure and abnormalities of the liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, pancreas, spleen and kidneys. In addition to a full bladder, the pelvic organs can also be examined: the bladder, uterus, ovaries and prostate.
After lung cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. There are around 5,000 new cases and between 2,100 and 2,000 deaths each year. One in every 10-11 women will develop it in her lifetime.1
Breast cancer is not a risk for people at average risk under the age of 40, so complex breast screening is recommended for those over 40. At our institution, we use state-of-the-art digital three-dimensional tomosynthesis, which detects even the smallest malignant lesions and can screen 35% more invasive breast cancers compared to conventional mammography. The images obtained are complemented by a physical and ultrasound examination of the breast. In case of a complaint or a positive mammogram, further targeted examinations (ultrasound, MRI, cytological/ histological sampling, surgical, oncological consultation) are recommended as necessary.
Regular screening for cervical cancer at gynaecological examination is important from a young age, and we recommend repeat cytological sampling (PAP test) every 3 years from the age of 25 until the age of 65. HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) screening is recommended every 5 years if done at the same time as cytology, repeating the latter every 5 years is sufficient if you have a negative cytology result before.8
In addition to cancer, gynaecological screening may also reveal inflammations, cysts and post-menopausal abnormalities.
Prostate and urological tumours
While testicular tumours can develop as early as adolescence, prostate tumours are more common between the ages of 40 and 50. To screen for these, our screening kits include the following:
A blood test to determine PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels, which are elevated in cases of benign prostate enlargement, inflammation and cancer.
The specialist urological examination includes a physical examination of the external genital organs and an ultrasound scan of the kidneys and prostate: inflammation, hernias, anatomical abnormalities, kidney stones, tumours can be detected.
Skin tumours, melanoma
Although malignant tumours originating from moles are more common with age, they can also develop at a young age. Therefore, in addition to regular self-examination, specialised dermatological examinations are a priority, including screening for moles in addition to skin, nail and scalp inflammations and rashes.
Tumours of the oral cavity, larynx and neck
Smoking and regular alcohol consumption put you at increased risk of developing these diseases.
Ear, nose, throat and throat (ENT) examinations include a nose, ear, mouth and throat