Staying Healthy: Recommended Cancer Screenings

March 18, 2016 / James Knowles

Staying Healthy: Recommended Cancer Screenings

In the United States, cancer kills more than half a million people each year – making it the second leading cause of death among Americans behind heart disease (CDC). It is important to take necessary measures to detect and treat it early because as the saying goes, the best defense is a strong offense. This list of suggested screenings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) can help you stay ahead of your health. Some of the suggested cancer screenings include:

Breast cancer

The USPSTF recommends mammography screening for women aged 50 to 74 -years -old every other year. There are several types of screening tests and your doctor can recommend which one is best for you.

Cervical cancer

For women aged 21 to 65 -years -old, the USPSTF recommends a screening with a Pap smear every 3 years. For women older than 65, the USPSTF advises against cervical cancer screenings if they are not at high risk.

Colorectal cancer

It’s recommended that adults aged 50 to 75 -years -old screen for colorectal cancer. The risks and benefits of these screening methods vary. For adults between 76 and 85 -years -old, the decision to screen should be a personal one based on the overall health and prior screening history.

Lung cancer

Adults aged 55 to 80 -years -old who currently smoke, have a history of smoking or have quit in the last 15 years should receive annual lung cancer screening. Once you have been smoke-free for 15 years or if you develop a serious health problem, you can stop the screening.

Pancreatic cancer

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), early pancreatic cancers usually don’t show symptoms until the cancer has started to grow or spread. Some signs include the yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice), dark urine, back pain, unplanned weight loss, digestive problems, and blood clots. For adults who show no symptoms, the USPSTF recommends against routine screening for pancreatic cancer because of the risk factors. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms, especially if you have family history or show genetic risk for pancreatic cancer.

Prostate cancer

The USPSTF recommends that men should not go through prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer. Men who show symptoms such as unusual urination, erectile dysfunction, loss of bladder control, or weakness or numbness in the legs or feet can talk to their doctors about other screening possibilities.

Testicular cancer

A lump on the testicle is a common early sign of this cancer. While the USPSTF advises against screening for testicular cancer in adolescent or adult men, the ACS recommends that men can visit their doctor if a lump is found and discuss what may be the best action to take.

Women who have family members with breast, ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer should be screened to identify possible family history that may be linked to increased risk of potentially harmful mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes.

Remember to talk with your health care provider about your individual risk to determine what screening plans are the best for you.


Sources Used: American Cancer Society Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Category: Physical Health / Seniors