If you’re planning on making any health-related new year’s resolutions for 2020, add these cancer screening tests to your list. Screening for cancer can help you catch it early, and, in some cases, lead to a cure.
Skin cancer screening
People who have a family history of skin cancer and those who have moles — particularly moles that change in size, color or shape — should have their skin checked annually. Primary care doctors or dermatologists can perform this exam.
Colon and rectal cancer screening
Early-onset colon cancer is on the rise in patients under 50, so it’s important to begin screening for the disease at age 45, continuing through age 75, using either a stool-based test or a colonoscopy.
Lung Cancer Screening
- Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
- Have at least a 30-pack-a-year smoking history
Breast cancer screening
- Women ages 40 to 44 should begin getting mammograms if they want to, especially women with higher than average breast cancer risk.
- Women age 45 to 54 should get yearly mammograms.
- Women 55 and older should get mammograms every 2 years, or can keep getting them every year.
Prostate cancer screening
This simple exam for men is nothing to dread and takes just a few seconds once a year. Prostate exams should be done annually after the age of 50, or even earlier if you have a family history of prostate cancer or if you’re African-American.
Using a finger, a general practitioner or urologist will quickly check the size of a patient’s prostate and whether or not any lumps or nodules are present. Frequently, this is combined with a PSA blood test or some of the newer tests that go beyond just a plain PSA to determine if there’s any evidence of prostate cancer beginning to develop.
Testicular cancer screening
Many times, a testicular exam can be paired with a prostate exam in one appointment during a general physical exam. Some doctors also recommend that men perform monthly self-exams starting after puberty.
Cervical cancer screening
Cervical cancer my come on with very few symptoms, so maintaining an appropriate cancer screening schedule can help women detect the disease early. To screen for cervical cancer, a combination of Pap tests and HPV tests may be used. Women should keep the following cervical cancer screening schedule:
- Women 21 to 29, should have a Pap test every 3 years.
- At 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years, which should continue until age 65.
It is important to note that those who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow these guidelines. For more detailed cervical cancer screening information, visit the American Cancer Society website