ZocdocAnswersWhat machines are used to look for cancerous growths?

Question

What machines are used to look for cancerous growths?

Hello. I am 44 and going to have a mammogram in a few weeks. I would like to know what other machines can detect tumors.

Answer

Detecting cancer early is important for both you personally as well as the entire population. As such, doctors have spent millions of dollars and hours in order to determine what tests are appropriate to detect or "screen" for cancer. If you have any questions, I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. There are three major mechanisms to look for cancer. These three are used in healthy people to screen for cancer. The first is a mammogram. As you know, starting at age 40 (or 50) yearly or every other year mammogram can help detect cancer early and save lives. The second mechanism to detect cancer is a colonoscopy. This is important in order to detect colon cancer. I would recommend talking to a primary care doctor about it. Normally, people start at age 50, but some need to start earlier. The third mechanism to consider is a PAP smear. This is done to detect cervical cancer and should be done annually. Outside of the above, there are other machines to look for cancer -- but these should only be done if there are symptoms. Cat scans or MRIs can also be used, but these are not helpful without symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms that you are concerned for being a sing of cancer.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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