TESTS USED TO DETECT CANCER
These tests reveal the presence of
abnormal cells. One example is the
cervical smear test
in which cells are scraped from the
cervix (neck of the uterus) and
examined microscopically to detect
potential or early cancer of the cervix.
Another example is urine cytology,
used to detect bladder cancer. Cells
can also be removed from solid
lumps; this procedure is often
carried out on breast lumps.
Imaging tests can sometimes reveal
changes in the appearance oftissue
that are suggestive of cancer. One
such test is a low-dose X-ray used in
to detect early
breast cancer. Another is
for example, pelvic
ultrasound scans can detect cancer
of the ovary. CT scanning and MRI
provide detailed images of internal
anatomy and are particularly useful
for showing inaccessible areas, such
as the brain and the backofthe
Tests on blood, urine, or faeces can
show the presence of substances
suggestive of cancer. For example,
microscopic amounts of blood in the
faeces may be due to cancer of the
colon; high blood levels of prostate
specific antigen (PSA) are sometimes
due to prostate cancer.
Viewing tests involve looking inside a
hollow organ using an
tube with a viewing lens). They are
usually performed only when cancer
is already suspected. Examples
(viewing of the colon, stomach,
bladder, and abdominal cavity,
risk of cancer.
may be of benefit.
Tests that are carried out to detect can-
cer before symptoms have developed.
Cancer screening is used particularly
for groups of people who are thought
to be susceptible because of their age,
occupation, lifestyle, or genetic predis-
position. Early detection often increases
the chance of a cure. Tests for cancers of
the cervix (see
cervical smear test)
bladder, and colon
have proved effective in reducing m or-
tality from these conditions.
The medical term for canker or ulcera-
tion. It mainly refers to the mouth and
lips, when the condition is known as
cancrum oris. (See also
moniliasis. Candidiasis affects areas of
mucous membrane in the body, most
commonly the vagina and the inside of
the mouth. In infants, candidiasis can
occur in conjunction with
The fungus is normally present in the
mouth and the vagina, but in some
situations it may multiply excessively.
Candidiasis may occur if
destroy the harmless bacteria that con-
trol the growth of the fungus, or if the
body’s resistance to infection is low -
changes that occur during pregnancy
encourage growth of the fungus.
infected partner. The infection is far
more common in women than in men.
Symptoms of vaginal infection include
a thick, white discharge, genital irrita-
tion, and discomfort on passing urine.
Less commonly, the penis is infected,
of the head of the penis). Oral candi-
raised patches inside the mouth.
genitals or mouth to other moist areas
of the body. It may also affect the
gastrointestinal tract, especially in peo-
ple with impaired immune systems,
such as those taking
or w ho have H IV (the virus that
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Candidiasis is diagnosed by examina-
tion of a sample taken from the white
discharge or from patches.
The condition is treated topically with
such as clotrimazole or
w ith oral antifungals. The drugs are
given in the form of creams, vaginal
pessaries, or throat lozenges. Treatment
of candidiasis is usually successful, but
the condition may recur.
A brand name for the
clotrimazole, used to treat fungal infec-
of the skin and
A preparation that is derived from the
hemp plant C
s a tiv a
used to produce euphoria and halluci-
A smooth, blunt-ended tube that is
inserted into a blood vessel, lymphatic
vessel, or body cavity, in order to intro-
duce or withdraw fluids.
Cannulas are used for
the lungs). If necessary, a cannula may
be left in place for several days if con-
tinuous testing of, or introduction of,
fluids is required.
The anatomical term for the corner of
the angle at w hich the upper
and lower eyelids meet).
A measure of the level of transferrin, a
protein that acts in addition to
(the oxygen-carrying pigment in
the blood) to bind and transport iron
in the blood. Measuring iron-binding
capacity may help to establish the cause
(a reduced level of haemo-
globin in the blood).
Transferrin is formed mainly in the
The amount produced is deter-
mined by the amount of iron that is
stored in the body. W hen iron stores are
low, as occurs in iron-deficiency anae-
transferrin is produced to enable the
blood to carry as much iron as possi-
ble. The level of transferrin and the
iron-binding capacity of the blood are
thereby raised, although the level of
iron in the body is low.