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Cancer screening: time to catch up

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Cancer screening was postponed by many while we stayed safer at home. Delaying the detection of various forms of cancer by just a few months can make treatment more difficult and reduce the chances of survival.

Below is a guide to cancer screening and who should be tested when.

Breast cancer

Mammogram — X-rays of the breast — are often the most effective way to detect breast cancer early when treatment is more than 90% successful. Mammograms are exposed to low doses of radiation. For most people in the following age groups, the benefits of regular mammograms outweigh the risk of radiation exposure.

  • Women aged 50-74 with average risk: Every two years, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
  • Women at average risk between the ages of 45 and 54: annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • People at high risk of breast cancer because of their family history or their medical history can consult with their healthcare provider to start screening before the age of 40.

Cervical cancer

Papanicolaou stains look for precancerous cells that can develop into cancer without treatment. The HPV test looks for human papillomavirus, which can trigger cells to develop into cancer

  • 21-29 years: Papanicolaou stain specimens should start at 21 years. With a normal test, you can wait three years before the next test.
  • 30-65 years old: Talk to your healthcare provider about what suits you best. With a regular Papanicolaou smear, you can wait the next three years. With a regular HPV test, you can wait five years for the next test. If both tests performed at the same time are successful, you may be able to wait 5 years before retesting.
  • 65+: For example, if you have had regular screening for several years, or if you have your cervix removed as part of a hysterectomy, your provider may advise you that you do not need to be screened.

Colon cancer

Colon cancer usually begins with precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Detected polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. A Colon endoscopy Very thorough, doctors can remove polyps and other suspicious tissue for examination. Stool tests collected at home are about as accurate as colonoscopy, but cannot be treated immediately.

  • Average risk of colon cancer between the ages of 45 and 75: People in this age group should undergo colon endoscopy every 10 years. Black adults of all ages, including those under the age of 50, have a higher frequency of colon cancer and are more likely to die of colon cancer than white adults.
  • 76-85 years: Talk to your healthcare provider about your overall health and previous screening history. Current evidence shows that there is little benefit to screening everyone in this age group.

lung cancer

Low-dose computed tomography (low-dose CT scan) is used for screening lung cancer.. The test is quick and painless, but there is a risk of low levels of radiation exposure.

  • 20 packs of smoker, currently smoker or quit smoking within the last 15 years 50-80 years old (pack year is measured by multiplying the number of packs smoked daily by the number of years In the case of, 1 pack year per day becomes 20 pack years, and 2 packs per day for 20 years becomes 40 pack years.)

Screening for ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, testicular, and thyroid cancer has not been shown to be effective in reducing mortality, according to the USPSTF.


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