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Early Cancer Screening: What Is It And What To Expect

cancer screening

Cancer is a major health problem that affects millions of people every year. It’s a disease where cells in the body grow out of control. It’s so common that chances are that you may be at risk and not even know. This is why early screening is so important because some cancers are treatable when discovered early enough.

Many people are alive today because their cancer was found early and treated right away. Screenings are for everyone, especially as we get older or if we have a higher risk of getting certain types of cancer such as melanoma or breast cancer. In this article, we will cover the ins and outs of early cancer screenings.

The basics of early cancer screenings

Cancer screening is a way for clinics, such as this one, to look for cancer in people who don’t have any symptoms. It’s like checking your car regularly to avoid problems down the road. The idea is to find any cancer as early as possible. When cancer is found early, it’s often easier to treat and cure. There are several types of cancer screenings, and the kind you might need depends on factors like your age, gender, and family health history.

For women, mammograms are a common test to look for breast cancer. They use special X-ray pictures to see inside the breasts. Another test for women is the Pap smear, which checks for cervical cancer. It involves collecting cells from the cervix to look for changes that might become cancer.

Men might have a PSA test, which checks the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. High levels can mean prostate cancer. Both men and women can get colonoscopies, which look inside the colon for any signs of colon cancer. This test uses a long, thin tube with a camera on the end to see the inside of the colon.

Recommended screening guidelines

Doctors have guidelines to help decide when people should start getting screened for different types of cancer. These guidelines look at your age and if you have any risk factors that might make you more likely to get cancer. For example, women are usually advised to start getting mammograms to check for breast cancer when they are around 40 to 50 years old. But if a woman has a family history of breast cancer, she might start these screenings earlier.

For colon cancer, both men and women are suggested to start screening at age 45. This can be done with a colonoscopy or other tests that look for signs of cancer in the stool. Cervical cancer screening with a Pap smear is recommended for women starting at age 21 and then every three years if the results are normal. Prostate cancer screening with a PSA test is a bit different. Men are usually advised to start talking to their doctors about the pros and cons of this test around age 50, but those at higher risk might start earlier.

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