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Screening and Testing

Early Detection, More Effective Treatment

Catching cancer in its early stages is the best way to defeat the disease. Torrance Memorial provides the South Bay community with several of the most advanced procedures and technologies available to screen and test for malignancy. These technologies enable you or a loved one to find and fight cancer when it is most treatable. Early screening and testing not only allows for less invasive cancer treatments with higher success - it puts you in control of your health.

Screening

Screening procedures can detect cancer before any physical symptoms are present. Using a combination of tests and imaging, the cancer care team at Torrance Memorial can accurately find and diagnose the disease. Modern techniques make screening more precise, less invasive and deliver results faster.

Recommended screening depends on a variety of factors including your age, physical exam findings and risk factors for cancer. The American Cancer Society performs ongoing analysis of latest research findings on cancer screening and publishes their recommendations in informational brochures and on the American Cancer Society website. Torrance Memorial recommends that everyone have a discussion with their physician about recommended cancer screening for their individual health situation so that a personalized screening plan is created.

It is important to keep in mind that screening does not mean that you have cancer or increase the risk that you will develop a malignancy. It is normal to have a sense of apprehension when thinking about cancer screening, but timely diagnosis, should cancer be found, puts you in control of your treatment early if a malignancy is diagnosed.

Imaging

Imaging technology is at the core of modern cancer screening at Torrance Memorial. Performed by our expert physicians and technologists, this sophisticated equipment can detect suspicious areas at a very early stage of disease and before these small irregularities are detectable by physical examination or result in symptoms. If a tumor or lesion is found at this very early stage, removal and treatment are typically much more successful.

Some of the imaging technologies we offer include the following:

  • MRI including dedicated breast MRI
  • Digital X-Ray
  • Digital Mammography
  • Ultrasound
  • Virtual colonoscopy

Your physician will discuss with you the appropriate imaging procedures for your personal health needs. Routine screening using imaging technology - such as a yearly digital mammogram for women over age 40 - may become a regular part of your health care schedule. With easy access to the South Bay community, Torrance Memorial makes your regular imaging close and convenient.

Screening Procedures

  • Low dose chest CT for lung screening
  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Double-contrast barium enema

Procedures that screen for cancer of the colon and rectum can safely be perfomed on an outpatient basis at either Torrance Memorial's Endoscopy Center or at the hospital's Outpatient Surgery Center. A physician's order is required to schedule these screening procedures.

Laboratory Tests for Screening

Blood tests, such as the Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA, and other lab tests, like stool for occult blood, can be used to screen for cancer. All adults are encouraged to have routine physical exams and discussions with their personal physician about which cancer screening tests and procedures are appropriate for them. You can obtain more information about cancer screening from Torrance Memorial Cancer Resource Center and from the American Cancer Society. Whatever screening is recommended, our team will discuss the details of your tests with you to clarify each step.

Diagnosis

When screening reveals the possible presence of abnormality, additional investigation is typically indicated. Non-surgical biopsy utilizes advanced techniques and modern imaging technology to limit the invasiveness of obtaining a tissue specimen for analysis. These procedures are extremely accurate and often can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Pathology

An accurate diagnosis is the most important part of your cancer testing and screening. The team of expert physicians in our Pathology Laboratory use a sophisticated array of tests and analyses to thoroughly examine all samples to arrive at the correct diagnosis. This highly trained group of pathologists can determine the specific type and nature of your cancer based on these tests.

While some medical facilities outsource their pathology reports to external labs, Torrance Memorial maintains all but the most specialized laboratory testing and diagnosis at the medical center. Keeping the expertise of our pathologists close at hand insures the accuracy and quick return of your diagnosis.

Safety

While your safety and comfort are the top priority in screening for cancer at Torrance Memorial, these tests and procedures are not without risk. You or a loved one should discuss the possible risks and benefits with your physician before undergoing any screening procedure.

All personnel at Torrance Memorial are specifically trained, accredited, and licensed in the procedures used to find cancer. Every piece of equipment is also reviewed continuously for safety utilizing state and federal regulations as well as manufacturers' guidelines.