Each year, cancer strikes thousands of women across the United States. While preventative measures can help keep some cases at bay, that is simply not always the case. Early screening for more common forms of the disease, however, can greatly improve survival odds should cancer be diagnosed.
Women will find there are several routine screening procedures that should be built into their healthcare routines as they age. The exact timing the screenings should begin will hinge on personal risk factors for the particular form of cancer, such as ethnicity, family history, smoking habits and so on. Screenings all women need to know about include:
Breast cancer – Routine screening for breast cancer generally begins around the age of 40 with mammograms recommended by at least age 45 on a regular basis. The frequency of mammograms will likely change as women get older. In addition to mammograms, it is recommended that all women undergo routine self-examinations and regular checkups with a healthcare provider.
Colon cancer – Screening for this common form of cancer should begin around the age of 50. It may begin earlier if family history of the disease is present or other major risk factors are concerns.
Cervical cancer – Screening for this form of cancer should begin around the age of 21. It involves a routine Pap smear test, which should be given every three years between age 21 and 29. Women age 30 to 65 should have a Pap test and HPV test performed every five years.
Skin cancer – Routine skin exams should be performed at regular annual checkups.
Other screening procedures may be recommended for women at higher risk for such forms of cancer as endometrial and lung. It is best to talk to a healthcare provider for patient-specific recommendations.
Not every case of cancer can be prevented, but many can be successfully treated if caught early enough. Routine screening is an important step to help ensure a positive outcome should cancer develop.