Screenings can help find conditions that lead to cancer and help doctors find and treat some types of cancers early. Finding and treating certain cancers early is more effective and can save the life of you or a loved one. It’s easy to get busy and put off screenings. Once symptoms appear from cancer, it may have already grown and spread. When your provider suggests screenings, it doesn’t mean they think you have cancer, remember, screening tests are done when you have no cancer symptoms. Screening tests are used commonly to check for cancers of the breast, cervix, colon and rectum.
MAMMOGRAM is a picture of the breast made with x-rays. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women in their forties and older have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Women under forty who have a higher risk or family history of breast cancer should talk to their health care provider about how often to have them.
PAP TEST is used to check the cells from the cervix. Women should begin having Pap tests 3 years after they begin having sexual intercourse or when they reach age 21, then at least once every three years.
COLONOSCOPY is a screening test to detect growths or polyps in the colon and rectum. Men and women 50 and older should be screened, or those with higher risk should talk to their health care provider about how often and when to get screened.
Talk with your doctor about the possible benefits and harms of being checked for cancer. This is another example of how important it is for you to be in charge of making well informed health care decisions for yourself. Visit www.cancer.gov for more information from the National Cancer Institute about types of cancers, screenings and questions to ask your doctor so you can weigh the pro’s and cons.
"Medicine heals doubts as well as diseases."- Karl Marx