About one-third of the cancer burden could be decreased if cases were detected and treated early.
Early detection of cancer is based on the observation that treatment is more effective when cancer is detected earlier.
The aim is to detect the cancer when it is localized (before metastasis).
There are two components of early detection efforts:
Education to help people recognize early signs of cancer and seek prompt medical attention
for symptoms, which might include: lumps, sores, persistent indigestion, persistent coughing,
and bleeding from the body's orifices.
Screening programmes to identify early cancer or pre-cancer before signs are recognizable,
including mammography for breast cancer, and cytology (a "pap smear") for cervical cancer.