Secondary prevention includes actions taken to stop or delay the progression of disease. The term is usually applied to measures for the detection of disease at its earliest stage, i.e. in the presymptomatic phase, so that treatment can be started before irreversible pathology is present. The early recognition of hypertension through routine testing (screening) of patients allows treatment during the presymptomatic phase of the illness process. Screening for cervical cancer allows the treatment of cervical dysplasia, a premalignant condition. Other examples include mammography and endoscopy for polyps of the large bowel.
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