Clinical evaluation of an asymptomatic individual in the general population aimed at identifying abnormalities which might signal the presence of a specific medical condition. The intent is to find diseases at the earliest possible stage in their development in order to improve the chances for cure or reduce morbidity.
Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Since screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (breast), colonoscopy (colon), and the Pap test and HPV test (cervix). Screening can also include checking for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease by doing a genetic test.
Last updated: 2014-02-26
Source: The National Cancer Institute's Dictionary of Cancer Terms (http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary)