Screening

Screening

Screening advances that lead to early detection have been a major contributor to better survival. Some advances in this area include routine mammography for breast cancer; colonoscopy and fecal occult blood testing for colon cancer; and Pap smears for cervical and endometrial cancers. With colon and cervical cancer screening, doctors can often identify and remove pre-cancerous lesions toprevent cancer from developing.

Recently, a major clinical trial showed that CT scanning can reduce the risk of lung cancer in heavy smokers by catching more cases early. Research is also under way to develop effective screening approaches for ovarian, pancreatic, kidney, and other cancers. 

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1943

Doctors begin routine Pap testing

Doctors begin routine Pap testing

The Pap test is first introduced into physician's offices, enabling doctors to detect and begin treating cervical cancer before it has a chance to spread. Over the following decades, the Pap test is credited with driving down cervical cancer death rates in the U.S. and other wealthy countries. Yet cervical cancer remains a major cause of death in low-resource settings around the world, where access to screening and treatment is limited.

1940

Diagnostic tool detects bladder cancer in urine

Diagnostic tool detects bladder cancer in urine

A new test called urine cytology emerges as a tool to detect recurrent bladder and urinary tract cancers.  The test involves examining urine samples under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.  Over time, researchers find the test is most effective for detecting more aggressive cancers, versus those that are slow-growing.

1928

Discovery lays groundwork for development of the Pap test, the first-ever cancer screening test

Discovery lays groundwork for development of the Pap test, the first-ever cancer screening test

George Papanicolaou discovers that vaginal cell smears can reveal the presence of cervical cancer. This finding paves the way for the development of the first effective cancer screening test over the next 15 years. With refinements over the following decades, the Papanicolaou test (or Pap test, or Pap smear) remains the gold standard for cervical cancer screening and has been credited with reducing cervical cancer deaths by 70 percent in the U.S.