“A one-size-fits-all strategy can no longer be used for cancer screening because it is wasteful and difficult to implement… Implementing screening tailored by age and risk factors will be essential for increased accuracy… These strategies will have a great effect on minimising morbidities and mortality from cancer in future generations.”
Existing approaches to cancer prevention, screening, and early detection have been generic and generally driven by sex or age categories, and assessments of risk have been imprecise. The technologies are at hand to increase the precision and sensitivity of existing tools for prevention, screening, and early detection, with targeting and tailoring to specific population subgroups.
Just as precision-based oncology strategies are being used to target biological pathways within the tumour, precision-based approaches should be created and applied to cancer prevention and early detection; however, these must be implemented cautiously to avoid both underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis.
One of the populations at highest risk of developing cancer are cancer survivors. These individuals often are not aware of the risk for second cancers, and need to receive appropriate screening.
There is also a need for an expanded professional workforce with training in cancer genetics to provide counselling and genetic testing for patients with cancer and their families. Many new patients and cancer survivors need this testing to help in initial treatment decisions and subsequent management. A well-trained professional workforce could help with follow-up cancer screening and adherence to preventive interventions in individuals with a hereditary predisposition which places them at high risk for developing cancer. This is essential for the achievement of precision prevention.