Early cancer detection: current status and emerging strategies
Authors: Francisco Gutierrez-Delgado
Cancer is a major public health problem because of its high incidence, the highest mortality, among other non-communicable diseases in the world and the burden costs. Globocan 2012 reported 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths worldwide. 57% (8 million) of new cancer cases, 65% (5.3 million) of the cancer deaths and 48% occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Therefore, early cancer detection is critical for improving patient outcome, cost effectiveness of treatment, and decrease mortality rate. However, the benefit of early detection of cancer on patient survival is still controversial because the limitation in both sensitivity and specificity of the current screening tests. Thus, patients with few cancer types have been benefited from screening tests. The role of cancer screening has been established in breast, cervical and colon cancer, but in prostate cancer, overdiagnosis is a concern. The role of novel biomarkers and imaging screening in the early diagnosis of cancer are a subject of intensive research and a matter of debate. This article highlights the current status and the main advances in cancer screening.