What is a screening test?
Screening tests are designed to pick up diseases in the preclinical phase. This is the phase of the disease before which any symptoms are present. By detecting disease in the preclinical phase intervention is more likely to give better outcomes.
CanScreenBC currently offers consultation and follow-up services for cancer screening recommended by BC Cancer. Screening tests are often misunderstood and people frequently wonder why all cancers can not be screened for. Click here to see what makes a good screening test or see below for information on current cancer screening guidelines.
What makes a good cancer screening test?
A good screening test possesses several key qualities that make it effective and reliable.
Firstly, it should have a high sensitivity, meaning it accurately identifies individuals who have the condition or risk factor being screened for. This ensures that as few cases as possible are missed during the screening process.
Secondly, a good screening test should have a high specificity, meaning it accurately identifies individuals who do not have the condition or risk factor. This minimizes the chances of false positives and unnecessary follow-up tests or interventions.
Furthermore, a good screening test should be easily accessible, affordable, and non-invasive, allowing it to reach a large population and be implemented on a wide scale. It should also be reliable and consistent, providing consistent results when administered multiple times.
Lastly, an effective screening test should have evidence-based support, with well-established scientific validity and reliability. These qualities collectively ensure that a screening test can accurately identify individuals who require further diagnostic evaluation or intervention, leading to improved health outcomes and better resource allocation.
Unfortunately, not all cancers have well-defined early detection markers and many do not show detectable signs or symptoms until they have reached advanced stages, making early detection difficult. In such cases, screening tests are not available or may be less effective.
Should you have further questions please read our FAQ or book an intake appointment to discuss your screening options.