Cancer Screening

Part of: Cancer Care

An early diagnosis of cancer is crucial as it can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment.

Cancer screenings can help look for abnormal tissues and early signs of cancer, sometimes even before symptoms emerge. Screening is especially effective in the prevention and early detection of cancers such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer.

It is recommended to undergo cancer screening if you have the following risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Frequent consumption of alcohol
  • Frequent exposure to cancer-causing substances
  • Family history of cancer
  • Infection with viral hepatitis B or C
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Learn more about how cancer is diagnosed, screening tests commonly used to detect common cancers, and cancer screening packages available at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals and Parkway Shenton.

How is cancer diagnosed?

To diagnose cancer, one or more of the following methods may be used:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor may feel areas of your body for lumps or other abnormalities, such as changes in skin colour or enlargement of an organ, that may indicate the presence of cancer.

  • Laboratory tests. Urine and blood tests can help identify abnormalities caused by cancer. For instance, in people with leukemia, a common blood test known as a full blood count (CBC) is used to reveal an unusual number or type of white blood cells.

  • Imaging tests. Your doctor will examine your bones and internal organs in a non-invasive way. These imaging techniques are often used to detect the presence of tumours in the body, and include X-rays, computer tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and ultrasound scans.

  • Biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. The biopsy procedure that is right for you depends on your type of cancer and its location. In most situations, a biopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer.

After confirming a diagnosis, your doctor will determine the stage of the cancer and the extent of its spread. This will help determine the best treatment options and helps the doctor to forecast a likely outcome of your condition.

What are common cancer screening tests?

Your doctor will likely perform blood tests, such as the Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) test, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, CA-125 test, or the faecal occult blood test, to detect signs of cancer. A faecal immunochemical test (FIT) checks for the presence of blood in the stools, while the others check for tumour proteins present in the blood.

Here are more common screening tests used to detect signs of specific cancers:

Breast cancer

  • Mammography. This is a scan of the breasts used to screen for abnormal growths or tumours in women who may or may not have symptoms and signs of breast cancer.

  • Breast MRI. This imaging test may sometimes be used to screen women with a high risk of breast cancer.

Cervical or ovarian cancer

  • Pap smear and human papilloma virus (HPV) testing. This tests for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells at the cervix. As HPV infection can be a precursor for cervical cancer, and testing for the presence of the HPV virus can also prevent its spread.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound. This imaging test may sometimes be used to scan the ovaries and uterus to help detect ovarian cancer or endometrial cancer.

Lung cancer

  • Low-dose helical computed tomography. This is used to screen for lung cancer, and is usually used on patients with a significant smoking history.

Colorectal cancer

  • Colonoscopy. This is used to detect abnormal growths in the colon, such as colon polyps that may develop into cancer.
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Learn more about recommended cancer screening tests based on your age and gender, and how you can book a cancer screening, at Parkway Shenton clinics.

You can also learn more about our screening packages below.

The Basic LifeScreen package ($198) includes a clinical examination and medical consultation to check your blood pressure, body mass index, and height and weight. It also involves a physical examination.

In addition, it will cover:

Vision test

  • Colour vision
  • Visual acuity

Urine full examination and microscopic examination (U FEME)

Blood investigations

  • Full blood count
  • Bone/joint profile
  • Cholesterol profile
  • Fasting glucose
  • Kidney function
  • Liver function

Blood tumour markers

  • Liver: Alphafoeto protein (AFP)
  • Colon: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
  • Pancreas: CA19-9
  • Ovary: CA 125 for women
  • Breast: CA15-3 for women
  • Prostate: PSA for men

Colorectal cancer screening

  • Faecal immunochemical test (FIT)

Post-medical review

This screening package is available at Parkway Shenton. Call +65 6812 3396 to book an appointment.

This Comprehensive LifeScreen package ($768 for men, $958 for women) includes a clinical examination and medical consultation to check your blood pressure, body mass index, and height and weight. It also involves a physical examination.

In addition, it will cover a wide range of tests, including:

Vision test

  • Colour vision
  • Visual acuity

Urine full examination and microscopic examination (U FEME)

Blood investigations

  • Full blood count
  • Bone/joint profile
  • Cholesterol profile
  • Fasting glucose
  • Kidney function
  • Liver function

Colorectal cancer screening

  • Faecal immunochemical test (FIT)

Blood tumour markers

  • Liver: Alphafoeto protein (AFP)
  • Colon: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
  • Pancreas: CA19-9
  • Ovary: CA 125 for women
  • Breast: CA15-3 for women
  • Prostate: PSA for men

Nasopharyngeal cancer screening

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) serology test

Lung examination

  • X-ray or low-dose CT (chest)

Female-specific examinations

  • Breast mammogram and ultrasound
  • Cervical Pap smear and HPV DNA test

Male-specific examinations

  • Prostate ultrasound

Post-medical review

You can book a cancer screening package for yourself or your loved ones at one of Parkway Shenton’s Executive Health Screening (EHS) clinics located within our hospital.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.