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JAMA Patient Page
March 20, 2013

Screening Tests

JAMA. 2013;309(11):1185. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.144651

Screening tests are used to identify a condition in people who may have a disease before the symptoms are obvious (early detection). Screening tests may include blood tests, imaging (x-ray or computed tomography scans), or testing of a person's ability to complete a task. Some examples of screening tests are blood tests in newborns for thyroid disease and cystic fibrosis, and blood lead level tests and hearing tests in children. In adults, examples of screening tests are Papanicolaou (Pap) tests for cervical cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, blood pressure measurements for hypertension, blood glucose measurement for diabetes, and colonoscopy for colorectal cancer.