At the beginning of the New Year, it’s natural to consider health improvements. Nothing puts your well-being in the spotlight better than scheduling essential cancer screenings.
Screenings aid in the early identification of abnormal cells or tumors. Detecting cancer earlier often lets your care team take effective – and less invasive – steps toward treatment. Prioritize screenings to be proactive against the often-silent threat of cancer.
These are the most common recommended cancer screenings:
- Breast cancer: Annual mammograms are recommended for women ages 40-85 unless your doctor determines otherwise. Mammograms can identify tumors that are too small to be felt, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. After skin cancer, this is the most common cancer women face. Digital mammography and 3-D technology provide clearer views from multiple angles.
- Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer is a common cancer, yet one of the most detectable. Colonoscopy every 10 years is recommended as the gold standard for everyone ages 45-75. During colonoscopy, the physician can find and remove pre-cancerous polyps, or detect cancer in early stages. There are other screenings available if you are not able to or choose not to have a colonoscopy, so be sure to talk it over with your doctor.
- Cervical cancer: Regular Pap tests are essential for women. They detect any abnormal changes in the cervix and are recommended every three years for women ages 21-30. Women 30-65 should have Pap tests combined with an HPV test every five years, or a Pap test every three years. Women 65 and older should ask their provider if this test is still needed.
- Prostate cancer: Men, ages 55-70, especially with a family history of this cancer, should discuss screening options with their health care provider. More than 288,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.
- Lung cancer: Low-dose CT screening is recommended for anyone, ages 50-77 who has a smoking history of 20 packs in a year, currently smokes or has quit in the last 15 years. Since early detection can significantly improve your outcome, talking to your doctor about this test only makes sense.
The beginning of the year is an ideal time to start a year of wellness. Start your journey toward better health by getting a primary health care provider if you don’t have one. If you have a doctor, talk to them about your age, gender and history. Your well-being and potential health risks are unique.
Prevention of cancer, via healthy habits, and understanding your risk factors also are good things to bring up when you see your provider at a yearly checkup.
Setting cancer screenings as a New Year priority can bring a year of proactive health management to life. Schedule those essential cancer screenings today; our team can help you – or someone you love – get those appointments on your calendar.