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A healthy lifestyle is important in helping to prevent
cancer. Another important step you can take to protect your
health is to be aware of cancer screening guidelines. Talk
with your primary care provider, get regular check-ups, and get
tested to detect any abnormalities or changed conditions before
symptoms develop. Early detection is your best weapon in the
fight against cancer.
The following cancer screening guidelines are recommended by the
American Cancer Society for
those people at average risk for cancer or without any specific
People who are at increased risk for certain cancers due to
family history or other conditions, may need to follow a different
screening schedule. Talk with your primary care provider to
determine if you fall into a higher risk category and to determine
the appropriate cancer screening schedule for you.
Yearly mammograms to detect cancer and precancerous changes are
recommended for women starting at age 40.
In addition, clinical breast exams
should be conducted every three years for women in their 20s
and 30s and annually for women 40 and over.
Also recommended for women starting in their 20s is breast self-exams done
monthly in order to identify color changes, skin irregularities,
lumps and changes in the nipples.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
A baseline colonoscopy should be done in both men and women to
detect cancer and precancerous growths (polyps) on the inside wall
of the colon at age 50. After that, it should be done every
All women should have a pap smear done to detect abnormal cells
that may become cancerous annually beginning in their 20s.
After age 30, women may get screened every one to three
years. Follow the guidance of your provider.
In addition, pelvic exams to detect cancer and precancerous
changes of the cervix, uterus and ovaries should be done annually
in women beginning at age 20.
Beginning at age 50, men should have both the prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) annually to
detect prostate cancer in the earliest stages.
In addition, testicular self exam to detect testicular cancer
should be done monthly beginning at age 20.
For more information about these
and other cancer screening tests, talk with your primary care