What Cancers do we screen for?

We screen for colon, prostate, leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers of the blood.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for an average of 1,575 deaths each day (CDC).

In 2016, there will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cancer cases diagnosed and 595,690 cancer deaths in the US.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer develops in the large intestine, the lower part of your digestive system. Small, noncancerous (benign) polyps can starts in the lining, grow into the center of the colon, and develop into cancer overtime. Because polyps may not produce symptoms, doctors usually recommend regular screening tests, such as a colonoscopy, considered to be the gold standard screening method.

The USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force, a federally supported expert panel, recommends screening for colon cancer in adults at average risk for colon cancer beginning at age 50 by using any one of the following methods, iFOBT, colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. The USPSTF assigns a Grade A (Strongly Recommended) for the screening of colorectal cancer.

We offer a take home screening test called iFOBT. iFOBT stands for Immunochemical Occult Blood Test. This test screens for microscopic amounts of blood in the stool. It is an easy, painless test that is an effective screening tool. The goal is to find early signs of the disease in order to find polyps that can be removed during a colonoscopy.

Regular screening can often find colorectal cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable. In many people, screening can also prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer. Found early, colon cancer is easier to cure.

Symptoms & Warnings

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • A change in your bowel habits
  • Blood in your stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and usually progresses slowly. If it is confined to the prostate gland, it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer may cause no signs or symptoms in its early stages. Prostate cancer that is detected early, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, has a better chance of successful treatment.

Symptoms & Warnings

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

Risk Factors

  • Your risk increases with age
  • African American men are at higher risk and the cancer is more likely to be aggressive or advanced
  • Family history of prostate or breast cancer (genes BRCA1 or BRCA2)
  • Obesity

What is the cause of Prostate Cancer?

It is not clear what causes prostate cancer. Doctors know that prostate cancer begins when some cells in your prostate become abnormal. The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test analyzes your blood for PSA (a protein produced only in the prostate gland). It's normal for a small amount of PSA to be in your bloodstream, however, if higher than normal, it may be an indication of prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.

Prostate cancer is often difficult to determine which treatment, if any, is best. It is important to discuss with your physician the many choices available today. Treatment options may differ depending on your age, family history, type of cancer (slow growing or more aggressive), general health and other factors.

What is Leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. By looking at a sample of your blood, your doctor can determine if you have abnormal levels of white blood cells or platelets which may suggest leukemia. 

White blood cells are important infection fighters that grow and divide as your body needs them. However, in people with leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which don't function properly.

There are many types of leukemia. Some forms of leukemia are more common in children while others occur mostly in adults. Symptoms vary, depending on the type of leukemia. 

Treatment may be complex depending on various factors of the disease. There are strategies and resources that can help to make treatment more successful.

Risk Factors

  • Previous cancer treatment: People who have had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other cancers have an increased risk of developing certain types of leukemia.
  • Genetic Disorders: Genetic abnormalities seem to play a role in the development of leukemia. Certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, are associated with an increased risk of leukemia.
  • Chemical Exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as benzene—which is found in gasoline and is used by the chemical industry—also is linked to an increased risk of some kinds of leukemia.
  • Smoking: Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia.
  • Family History: If members of your family have been diagnosed with leukemia, your risk for the disease may be increased.

Symptoms & Warnings

  • Fever or chills
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Recurrent nosebleeds
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night
  • Bone pain or tenderness

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a group of blood cell tumors that develop from lymphatic cells. The lymphatic system is designed to fight off disease and includes lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen and the thymus gland.

There are many types of lymphomas. The most common types of lymphomas are Hodgkin lymphomas (HL) and the non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). The World Health Organization (WHO) includes two other categories as types of lymphoma: multiple myeloma and immunoproliferative diseases. About 90% of lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Symptoms & Warnings

  • Enlarged lymph nodes (usually painless)
  • Fever
  • Drenching sweats (mainly at night)
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Itching
  • Fatigue

Physicians use several different types of testing modalities to diagnose lymphoma, including blood tests, biopsy and imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasound, CT Scans and MRI.

As a screening tool, blood tests that measure the amounts of certain types of cells and chemicals in the blood can give clues to whether a person may have lymphoma. These tests are the CBC with Differential (Complete Blood Count) and the CMP (Complete Metabolic Panel) respectively. They are not used to diagnose lymphoma, but they can sometimes provide clues for further investigation.

What else do we screen for?  Learn more.