What is the difference between screening and targeting?

by | Breast Cancer, Cancer Care, Tests and Investigations, Videos

cancer scanning

Identifying Cancers

There are 2 different ways we identify cancers.

One way is by what we call population screening. That means we take individuals who have no reason to suspect they have a disease and do tests on them to understand whether or not they might have a disease. As an example, breast screening is done in otherwise completely healthy women. The only thing they have in common is the fact that they are women and they’re 50 years or more in age. That is screening.

The alternative or the other way that we identify cancers is by diagnosis, and typically we do that in people where we have a reason to believe there’s a problem. Again, using the example of breast cancer, if there is a lump in your breast, if you feel a lump, it’s no longer screening. We are targeting that lump to identify exactly what it is.

Professor Michael Boyer is Medical Oncologist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse