From inspection method to cycling… A comprehensive summary of the ‘Big Six National Cancer Screening’

In Korea, the ‘National Cancer Screening Support Project’ is being implemented to increase cancer treatment rates and reduce cancer deaths. Cancer screening is an important test for the early detection of cancer, which is the leading cause of death in Korea. The National Cancer Screening Project covers six types of cancer: stomach cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer.

Health Check|Source: Clip Art Korea

1. Stomach cancer
Stomach cancer screening is available every two years for those over 40. However, if there is a family history of gastric cancer or lesions such as intestinal metaplasia or submucosal tumors on previous examinations, annual examination is recommended.

The primary test for gastric cancer screening is gastroscopy. A gastroscopy is an examination where an endoscope is inserted through the mouth to check the condition of the mucous membrane of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. If abnormal findings are found during the examination, a biopsy may be performed to obtain an accurate diagnosis. If it is difficult to perform a gastroscopy, a gastroscopy can be used instead.

It is necessary to fast for 8 hours to increase the accuracy of the test. This is because it is difficult to make an accurate diagnosis if food remains in the stomach during the examination.

2. Colon and rectal cancer
You can get it every year for those over 50. The Colonoscopy Society recommends a follow-up colonoscopy every 5 years for those over the age of 50 and 3 or 5 years after removal of polyps from the colon.

Colon and rectal cancer screening is based on a fecal occult blood test, and if the test is positive, a colonoscopy is performed. A fecal occult blood test is a non-invasive test that detects occult blood in faeces. A colonoscopy is an examination where an endoscope is inserted through the anus to check the condition of the mucous membrane and blood vessels in the large intestine. If a polyp is found during the examination, it is removed as much as possible, and a biopsy is carried out if necessary.

When performing the fecal occult blood test, the prescribed amount (5g) should be observed because the test result may not be accurate if the amount of feces collected is small. If stool is collected the day before the test, it should be stored in a cool place to ensure the accuracy of the test. In colonoscopy, ‘bowel preparation’ is important. From 3 days before, you should refrain from eating fruits with seeds and grains, and take the bowel cleanser properly, until the end, by referring to the instructions for use provided by the hospital where you are examined.

3. liver cancer
The high risk group of liver cancer over the age of 40 can be screened every 6 months. The high-risk group of liver cancer includes patients with △ cirrhosis of the liver △ antigen-positive hepatitis B virus △ antibody-positive virus △ chronic liver disease caused by hepatitis B or C virus.

Liver cancer screening methods include a serum alpha-fetoprotein test and liver ultrasound. The serum alpha-fetoprotein test is a blood test, usually taken from a blood vessel in the arm. This is performed to check the level of alpha-fetoprotein, a tumor marker for liver cancer. An ultrasound examination of the liver is performed by applying ultrasonic jelly to the transducer and the body, then rubbing the test area by placing the transducer in close contact with the skin. During the examination, it is necessary to control inhalation or exhalation, that is to see the liver correctly by adjusting the position of the diaphragm.

There are no special preparations for a serum alpha-fetoprotein test. In the case of ultrasonography of the liver, it is necessary to fast for more than 6 hours because eating food causes the stomach to expand, making an accurate examination difficult.

4. Lung cancer
Among men and women aged 54 to 74, with a smoking history of 30 years or more, the high-risk group for lung cancer should have lung cancer screening every two years even if they have no symptoms.

The primary test for lung cancer screening is a low-dose CT scan of the chest. It is a test that uses X-rays to image cross-sections of the body. Compared to conventional CT scans, the amount of exposure is reduced and accuracy is improved. Lie on the CT machine and breathe and hold your breath as directed by the radiologist.

Low-dose chest CT is a test method that does not inject a contrast agent, and there is no separate preparation such as fasting.

5. Breast Cancer
Women over 40 can be screened for breast cancer every two years. Breast cancer screening is recommended from age 35 onwards if there is a family history, and annually for women receiving hormone therapy.

During a breast examination, a ‘mammography’ is carried out, which is the most basic test for diagnosing breast diseases. Mammography is performed by placing both sides and the top and bottom of both breasts on an imaging device and then pressing the breasts with two plates to take a picture.

There are no special preparations, but if you are pregnant or pregnant, you must inform the medical staff in advance. In this case, the examination can be carried out after reducing the exposure of the fetus to X-rays with an apron and lead gown.

6. Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer screening is performed every two years in women over the age of 20. The Korean Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends regular checkups once a year when you’re in your 30s and twice a year after age 40. If you have had a hysterectomy or are sexually inexperienced, you should consult your doctor before the test.

For cervical cancer screening, cervical cytology is performed. For cervical cytology, you should lie on the examination table and spread your legs to the sides. A speculum is then inserted into the vagina to expose the cervix, and a small brush is used to collect cells from the cervix and vagina.

In order to have a cervical cancer test, it is recommended to avoid douching, using drugs in the vagina, and sexual intercourse for 2 to 3 days before the test. In addition, tests should be avoided during menstruation.

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