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Frequently Asked Questions: Cancer Screening Tests


Q. What is the purpose of cancer screening?
A. 癌症筛查是一种医学尝试,旨在尽早发现癌症或可能导致癌症的变化, before symptoms develop, 为了在这些异常细胞引起疾病或缩短人的生命之前切除或治疗它们. 筛查测试本身并不能治疗癌症,但可以启动癌症的诊断和治疗过程.

Q. What makes a good screening test?
A. 一项有效的癌症筛查测试是一项经过良好研究验证的测试,并被证明有助于降低被测试者死于癌症的可能性. 当某种类型的癌症在特定社区或患该癌症的风险特别高的群体中很常见时,筛查测试是最有效的.

Q. Is there such a thing as a bad screening test?
A. 是的. 一种可能发现癌症但对被筛查者没有明显益处的测试(例如, using regular chest x-rays in an attempt to find lung cancer; this approach has been evaluated and found to be of no value) is a poor choice.

Q. How are cancer screening guidelines produced?
A. Panels of health care experts examine the published results of clinical investigations and determine whether a particular test is beneficial or not helpful; recommendations are made by consensus. 在某些情况下,可能还没有足够的信息来决定一个测试是否有用. 指导方针旨在帮助人们在医疗保健方面做出正确的决定,但它们并不是铁板钉钉的规则.

Q. 为什么专家们对癌症筛查存在分歧?
A. Sometimes the information conflicts; different panels may interpret the information differently. 有时新信息的出现会改变先前的建议. 通常很难提出适合每种情况的建议.


Q. What is the difference between a mammogram and a 3D mammogram?
A. A conventional mammogram is similar to a standard x-ray; it looks at the breast tissue as a flat object. A 3D mammogram is more like a CT scan of the breast; it allows for an appreciation of the depth of the breast tissue and can be better at detecting subtle changes.

Q. What is breast awareness?
A. Familiarity with the specifics of one's own body and its changes. 其思想是,这应该使早期识别潜在的异常变化变得更容易. 然而, there is no proof that breast self-examination helps to reduce the likelihood of dying from breast cancer; it does lead to a higher number of breast biopsies and helps find non-cancerous breast changes.


Q. I know about Pap smears, but what is an HPV test?
A. HPV代表人类乳头瘤病毒,现在已知它与宫颈癌有直接联系. The test detects the virus's genetic code, a very sensitive means of finding the virus in the tissues. 这项检测的可用性意味着妇女现在可以比过去更少地进行检测,而不会危及她们的健康.


Q. 虚拟结肠镜能取代标准的结肠镜检查吗?
A. “虚拟结肠镜检查”是一种使用CT机器的专业放射学检查,目前正在研究其发现结肠癌和结肠癌前病变的能力. 目前还没有证据表明这种检查能很好地替代标准结肠镜检查.


Q. 我从不吸烟,但我经常接触二手烟. Should I be screened for lung cancer?
A. 目前的筛查指南仅适用于活跃吸烟者或在过去15年内戒烟的人. 目前尚无资料显示对暴露于二手烟的非吸烟者进行筛查有什么好处.


Q. I am confused about the guideline for prostate cancer. What happened to the PSA test?
A. 从几个非常大的临床研究中积累的经验对对一定年龄的所有男性进行前列腺癌筛查的益处提出了相当大的怀疑. 通过筛查发现的多达40%的前列腺癌可能永远不会对患者造成健康问题,因为它们生长非常缓慢,不太可能扩散. 但是前列腺癌的治疗可能是相当有害的,并对男性的生活质量产生许多不利影响, 甚至可能导致早死于其他原因,比如心脏病. 目前关于前列腺癌检测的最好建议是与你的个人医疗保健提供者仔细讨论风险和收益,他们最能将这些信息应用到你的特殊情况中.


Q. What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
A. 长期暴露于紫外线辐射是与非黑色素瘤皮肤癌相关的主要风险因素. The risk factors for melanoma are somewhat more varied; again, 日晒(特别是在童年和青少年时期持续的严重晒伤史), the use of tanning beds, and having certain types of moles all contribute. 您应该与您的医疗保健提供者讨论您的情况,以确定是否以及多久应该做一次彻底的皮肤检查.


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