Hit the Brakes on Cancer
Imagine driving down the road with your cruise control on and you quickly realize there is an accident ahead. What do you do? You hit the brakes to prevent a bigger problem.
The same holds true for your health. Get regular cancer screenings as recommended by your doctor. You will be more likely to catch warning signs early and improve your treatment outcomes.
Breast cancer is the second-most common type of cancer for women in the U.S. Many women have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. This is why it is important to get regular mammograms.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)* says women ages 40 to 49 should talk to their doctors about when to start regular screenings. It will depend on risk factors like family history of breast cancer. Women ages 50 to 74 at average risk should get a mammogram every two years. It is a good idea to watch for warning signs between screenings. A woman should reach out to her doctor if she notices a new lump, a thickening or a skin irritation.
Cervical Cancer Screening
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)* says there are about 13,000 cases of cervical cancer each year in the U.S. When caught early, it responds well to treatment. Experts say women ages 21 to 29 should get regular screenings called Pap tests. If the tests are normal, it might be OK to wait three years between tests.
For women ages 30 to 65, doctors might suggest a Pap test alone or combine it with a screening for human papillomavirus. Women over 65 may not need to continue screenings, as long as they have had normal test results for the past few years.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
The CDC says colorectal cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. for cancers that affect both men and women. Screenings can find abnormal growths early, when they are easier to treat.
The USPSTF says adults ages 45 to 75 should get regular colon cancer screenings. Adults over 75 or those at high risk should get guidance from a doctor.
According to the CDC, prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among American men. The USPSTF says this screening should be up to the individual for men between 55 and 69. A man in this age range should talk to his doctor about the pros and cons of prostate cancer tests. Experts do not recommend these screenings for men over 70.
Cancer screenings can lead to early detection and better outcomes. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you.
*The USPSTF and the CDC are independent organizations that provide health information you may find helpful.