Cancer Screening and Clinical Trials: Understanding Its Importance

Cancer is a complex disease that claimed nearly 10 million lives in 2020 alone. It is the leading cause of death globally and responsible for nearly one in six deaths.

Every year, more and more people develop cancer. Developing cancer can be due to a plethora of reasons. These reasons can include tobacco and alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, poor lifestyle, air pollution, and genetic predisposition.

Although potentially fatal, cancer can be curable with early detection and effective treatment. Hence, early screening is crucial.

Why Cancer Screening is Important

Cancer screening is vital to detect specific cancer or pre-cancer before symptoms show. Early detection means less treatment because cancer cells have not spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer screening helps individuals have a better chance at survival. Identifying abnormalities kickstarts the process with a series of tests to come up with a conclusive diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer screening programs vary according to the person’s age and risk factors. For example, breast cancer screening is done on women aged 50-69, and HPV test for cervical cancer.

But some cancers can also be detected through routine medical check-ups like skin lesions or abnormalities during blood workups.

What it Means to be Predisposed for Certain Cancers

Genetic predisposition refers to the inherited risk of developing cancer. A person with a genetic predisposition is more likely to develop cancer compared to others.

However, this does mean that you will have cancer although the risk is higher. The same with those who do not have a genetic predisposition. Not having this gene does not directly mean you are safe from the risks of cancer.

So even if a person has family members with a history of cancer, it does not automatically mean that person will also become sick. But the following patterns can cause concern:

  • Close family relatives (parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces) with combinations of cancer types: one with breast cancer and the other relative with pancreatic cancer. More so if there are more than two family members with breast cancer
  • Three or more relatives with the same type of cancer
  • A close relative diagnosed with cancer at a young age (ex. breast cancer less than 30 or 40 years old)

Why Screening Early Can Benefit Clinical Trials

Early screening benefits clinical trials by allowing researchers, like NICR, to establish an effective treatment for a certain type of cancer.

Through cancer screening, researchers and medical professionals can compare the most effective treatment in a form of a new drug, treatment, or therapy.

Clinical trials involve new approaches, therapies, improve early diagnoses, prevent cancer from recurring, and reduce the side effects of the disease or the treatment, or improve the overall quality of life.

Early screening benefits clinical trials because the management, treatment of cancer disease, and access to new ways of cancer treatment are dependent on clinical trials.

Clinical trials provide an opportunity for future cancer patients to have high-quality treatment and care.

The National Institute of Clinical Research is an SMO/CRO with offices and labs in the following cities and states: New Jersey, North Carolina, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Bakersfield 93309, Fountain Valley 92708, Garden Grove 92840, Hacienda Heights 91745, Huntington Beach 92648, Las Vegas 89106, Long Beach 90806, Los Angeles 90048, Ontario 91762, Rosemead 91770, San Antonio 78207, Santa Ana 92704, Upland 91786, and Westminster 92683.