You should encourage the women in your life to get regular screenings for cancer. Although you or your loved one may not be experiencing any symptoms, it is still important to get screened. If caught early, some cancers can be treated more easily. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 5 cancer screenings that every woman should have.
1. Breast Cancer
Starting at age 40, all women should have an annual mammogram to check for breast cancer. Some woman may want to be screened earlier depending on family or medical history. Some healthcare providers even have the option to have a mammogram in 3D.
Women should also be doing routine self-exams at home to familiarize themselves with how their breasts look and feel. Always let your healthcare provider know if you ever notice any change in your breast.
2. Colon Cancer
Women should begin getting screenings for colon cancer at age 50 or earlier depending on their family and medical history. There are many different tests that can detect colon and rectal cancer, including at home options.
The tests are looking for polyps, which can turn into cancer. Some of the tests include stool DNA test, colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT). You should speak with your doctor to discuss which test would be good for you.
3. Cervical Cancer
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. Women should begin screening for cervical cancer at age 21. You should also have a Pap test every 3-5 years and an HPV test. This can help find cervical cell changes before they become cancer.
If you have had the HPV vaccine, you should still have routine tests. Women with a higher risk for cervical cancer may need to be screened more often. Most women will not have any symptoms so it is important to have routine screenings.
4. Lung Cancer
Any woman ages 55-75 that is currently a smoker or was a heavy smoker should speak with their doctor about if a CT scan is right for them. There are usually no symptoms from lung cancer until after the cancer has advanced. This is why it is important to get screened so it can be caught early.
5. Skin Cancer
You should always be familiar with all moles and spots on your skin. If you notice any changes, you should talk with your doctor right away. Have a skin exam during your regular visits.
Learn more about cancer screenings at Ochsner.