Women should have preventive cancer tests
If you start the new year with a long list of tasks, you are not alone. With everything on your plate, you may be tempted to delay your annual mammogram, postpone your colonoscopy, or let your skin checkup wait. But don’t let that happen. Make 2017 the year you put your health at the top of your priority list, and you can start scheduling important tests that can help detect and, in some cases, prevent cancer.
Women should undergo basic exams
Mammograms: Mammograms are X-ray examinations used to detect and evaluate changes in the breast. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women at high risk of breast cancer begin receiving annual mammograms at age 45. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends starting at age 40, while the Preventive Services Task Force The USPSTF says healthy/low-risk women can wait until age 50. yA birthday to start a mammogram and every two years after that. Amid all the confusion and conflicting recommendations, Dr. Anita Johnson, a breast surgeon at our hospital near Atlanta, urges patients to follow ACOG’s guidelines. “We still believe in mammograms after age 40 and do them every year,” he says. “As with all cancers, when breast cancer is caught early, there are usually more treatment options available and survival rates are higher.”
Papanicolaou’s test: This screening procedure, also known as a Pap test, tests the cervix for precancerous and precancerous cells. The ACS and USPSTF recommend that women get a Pap test starting at age 21 and every three years thereafter, regardless of sexual activity. When a woman is 30 years old, a Pap test and HPV (which tests for HPV) are recommended every five years. Women can also choose to have a Pap smear every three years. Dr. Kelly Manahan, a gynecological oncologist at our hospital near Atlanta, offers this advice: “Any woman who has had an abnormal Pap test should have a Pap test until age 65.”
Digital rectal exams: This test allows the doctor to check the lower rectum and pelvis for cancer of the rectum, uterus, or ovary. Dr. Manahan says it’s important for women to have a digital rectal exam every year, starting at age 40. The best way to palpate the female organs, by far.” “Women should ask for it if a doctor hasn’t done it. It is mandatory. “
Colonoscopy: During this endoscopic procedure, a gastroenterologist examines the inner lining of the colon and rectum for abnormalities and removes any polyps. The ACS recommends that women with an average risk of colon cancer have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50. Women under age 50 should be screened if they have a strong family history of colon cancer or a personal history of IBD. Other stool tests screen for colon cancer and are recommended every three years for people at high risk of colorectal cancer.
Skin cancer screening: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. The ACS recommends that women have a skin exam every year during their regular physicals. It is especially important that your doctor do regular skin exams if you already have skin cancer.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan for lung cancer: This test examines the anatomy of the lungs and surrounding tissues. The ACS and USPSTF recommend CT scans for women at high risk of lung cancer. CT scans are recommended for adults 55 to 74 years old (the USPSTF recommends testing up to age 80) with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer, and those with a history of smoking one pack per day for 30 years (or two packs per day). day). for 15 years) and those who smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
Diabetes screening: The USPSTF recommends screening for abnormal blood sugar levels in overweight adults between the ages of 40 and 70. Increasing evidence also indicates that women with diabetes are at increased risk of developing some types of cancer, such as liver, pancreas, endometrial, colorectal, breast and bladder cancer.