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3 Important Cancer Screenings That Could Help Save Your Life

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Should you get cancer screenings? The answer is YES! As an oncologist, I can assure you that early cancer detection greatly increases the chances of successful treatment. It is so important that we get regular screenings for cancer as we age. Although we don't know every cancer's causes and risk factors, specific types have increased risk, making these tests very important. These three cancer screenings could help save your life.

Breast cancer

  • Breast cancer accounts for about 31% of all cancer diagnoses in women (approximately 298,000 cases annually)
  • It is recommended that all women should have an annual mammogram starting at age 40 to check for breast cancer. Depending on family or medical history, some women may want to be screened earlier.
  • Women should also familiarize themselves with how their breasts look and feel. Always let your doctor know if you ever notice any changes in your breasts.

Colon cancer

  • Colon cancer accounts for about 8% to 10% of all cancer diagnoses (approximately 153,000 cases annually)
  • People at average risk of colon cancer should start regular screenings at age 45. Screening should be initiated earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer.
  • The primary screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy, which should be done every 10 years unless your doctor suggests more frequent tests. Another screening option is an annual at-home test that checks for hidden blood in the stool.

Skin cancer

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, so it is recommended that adults see a dermatologist annually for routine skin checks.
  • You should always be familiar with all moles and spots on your skin. If you notice any changes, you should immediately talk to your doctor. Things to look for include changes in size, color and symmetry in current moles or marks on your skin.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2023, more than 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States. This year alone, there are estimated to be about 609,000 deaths from the disease, translating to about 1,670 deaths per day. Prevention is critical and early detection is vital. Take care of your health and those you love and get regular cancer screenings.

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