What's the best way to screen for cancer?

Not looking for medical advice, as I couldn’t afford it anyway :slight_smile:

I hate cancer, and I’ve had lots of people in my family get sick and/or die from cancer. I would love to be able to have a once a year full cancer screening that goes beyond just a pap smear and skin check. What could I do to put together the Ultimate Cancer Screening?

Here’s what I was thinking:

  1. Yearly skin check by a dermatologist
  2. Yearly pap smear/prostate check (depending on gender, obviously)
  3. Electron beam tomogrophy? Does those do any good? I have heard that they uncover all sorts of little things that are nothing, and require useless further tests.
  4. Brain scan? Is once a year too much radiation?
  5. Blood tests? What can they detect?

Really, the point would be to catch the cancers that start with too little symptoms, and then balloon into a deadly cancer - and by the time you know something is wrong, it’s too late.

This site has some extremely detailed suggestions for preventing & detecting cancer.

Do check with your doctor. Your personal & family medical histories should be considered.

If you’re over 50, a colonoscopy every five years.

Not sure that’s the current recommendation in the US (I think the default after 50 is every 10 years, assuming no problems / family history). I know that my brother was told “7, not 10” after hearing that I’d had a precancerous polyp show up on my screening scope.

Brain scan / tomography: I would think that unless there was a strong reason to suspect an issue, no reputable doctor would order such a thing for precisely the reasons you suggest: the radiation exposure itself has risks, and you’d get a lot of false positives.

Blood tests can detect markers for things like prostate / ovarian cancer and can also test for genetic predisposition to some cancers (breast for sure, maybe others).