Our focus is your health. For that reason most all patients will have a chest x-ray during their first visit with us. It is possible to find nodules in the chest x-ray that may need to be addressed. Also, depending on the age and gender of the patient some lab tests may be ordered such as a CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen), CA 125, or a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). Also, pap tests for women and prostate exams for men aid in the cancer screening process. Depending on the age and family history women are sent for mammograms. CT and PET scans can be utilized for further diagnosis when necessary.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other areas of the body through blood and lymph systems.
Labs and Tests
CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) – A protein normally found in the tissue of a fetus. Blood levels of this protein disappear after birth. In adults CEA may be a possible sign of cancer.
CA 125 – Test used to evaluate ovarian cancer treatment. In a woman who has not been diagnosed with cancer an elevated CA 125 can mean a number of things such as ovarian or other types of cancer or endometriosis.
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) – Screening for prostate cancer. Other conditions can cause the PSA level to rise. A high level could put you at risk fo prostate cancer and you may need more tests.
Pap Test – Checks for changes in the cells of the cervix. This could show ovarian cancer.
Mammogram – This is a screening tool for breast cancer it is an x-ray of the breast and can show doctors lumps that may not be found during the breast exam.
CT Scan – Computed tomography is used to generate a three dimensional image of the inside of an object through two dimensional x-ray images. Revealing more detail than regular x-ray exams.
PET Scan – Positron Emission Tomography is a type of nuclear medicine imaging in which a small amount of radioactive material is used to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases.
In some cases a CT/PET is used together to better diagnose a disease.
The best form of prevention is early detection. The following are recommended time frames in which various cancer screenings should be conducted:
Mammography should be done every one to two years for women ages 50 to 69.
Cervical Cancer (Pap Test) should be done at least every three years for women who have had sexual intercourse.
Colorectal Cancer should begin at the age of 50 with a fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) and a sigmoidoscopy every three to five years.
Cancer accounts for 22.8% of all deaths and is the 2nd leading killer of Americans, the first is heart disease. Cancer death is higher in men than women and affects African Americans more than any other population. There are expected to be over 1.4 million new cases of cancer this year the majority of the cases will be prostate for men and breast for women.