These Cancer Screenings can Save Your Life | Revere Health

As the second leading cause of deaths globally, cancer is responsible for approximately 9.6 million deaths each year. Many people do not know, however, that their chance of surviving cancer increases dramatically with early detection and treatment. The best strategy to reduce the burdens of the disease is by getting cancer screenings at the right age.

Why screenings are important

As the second leading cause of deaths globally, cancer is responsible for approximately 9.6 million deaths each year. Many people do not know, however, that their chance of surviving cancer increases dramatically with early detection and treatment. The best strategy to reduce the burdens of the disease is by getting cancer screenings at the right age.

Early diagnosis can reduce costs

Apart from saving your life, a cancer screening can reduce unnecessary healthcare spending. Cancers in advanced stages typically cost more money to treat than cancers in earlier stages. For example, if a woman was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer, treatment would cost an average of $60,637 per year. Treating stage IV cancer, however, would cost an average of $134,682 per year.

 

 

Early detection increases survival

Cancer screenings can help your doctor detect abnormalities in the body before you notice any symptoms and can help you get the treatment you need faster. A study by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) found:

“9 in 10 bowel cancer patients will survive for more than 5 years if diagnosed at the earliest stage; 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive for at least 5 years compared to 15% of women diagnosed at the most advanced stage; 70% of lung cancer patients will survive at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage compared to only 14% if diagnosed in a later stage.”

These data clearly show the importance of cancer screenings, and the difference early detection makes cannot be overstated.

There is some debate, however, about when to start screening for different types of cancer. It’s critical to discuss your screening plan with your provider to decide when screening is appropriate for you. Here are the most common types of cancers and when you should consider screening for them:

 

Breast Cancer

Women

Ages 40 and older

Women ages 40 to 44 should be given the choice to start screening

Women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year.

Women ages 55 and older should get a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.

Experts have not reached a consensus about the right age to begin breast cancer screenings. The American Cancer Society, for example, suggests getting a mammogram at 45, but the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends biennial screenings starting at age 50. Talk with your doctor to decide when screening is right for you. Factors such as family history may influence when you need to start screening

Colorectal Cancer

Everyone

Age 45 based on risk

Depends on the screening method used and its result

Women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year.

Women ages 55 and older should get a mammogram every 1 to 2 years.

There are many different options for colorectal cancer screening, but colonoscopy is the most effective. People with average risk should typically consider colonoscopy between ages 45 and 50, but certain risk factors may require you to start screening earlier. Those between ages 76 and 85 should consult with their doctor on how often to be screened and what screening methods are appropriate for them. Depending on the results of your screening, you may have to get screened more frequently.

Your doctor can help you evaluate your risk and determine the best method and frequency for screening.

Cervical Cancer

Women

Ages 21 – 65

Women ages 21-29 should have a Pap test done every 3 years.

Women between ages 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years.

Women over 65 who had regular testing over the past 10 years with normal results do not need to be tested.

Women who had their uterus and cervix removed for reasons not related to cervical cancer do not need to be tested. A Pap test only screens for cervical cancer and does not screen for uterine cancer. You can find more information about cervical cancer screenings here.

Uterine Cancer

Women

Around the time of menopause

Consult with your doctor on a yearly basis about the risks and symptoms of uterine cancer

Women between ages 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years.

Women over 65 who had regular testing over the past 10 years with normal results do not need to be tested.

There is no specific screening test for uterine cancer, but women with certain symptoms may require diagnostic testing, which involves a biopsy. Some women—because of their history—may need to have a yearly endometrial biopsy. Women should report any unexpected vaginal bleeding to their doctors.

Lung Cancer

Those who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years

Those who have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history (A pack-year is 1 pack of cigarettes per day per year. One pack per day for 30 years or 2 packs per day for 15 years would both be 30 pack-years)

Ages 55 to 74

Yearly

Anyone can get screened for lung cancer, but it is particularly important for current and former smokers. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommends screenings should be discontinued once a person has not smoked for 15 years or develops a health problem that substantially limits life expectancy or the ability or willingness to have curative lung surgery. Talk with your doctor and see if screening is right for you.

Prostate Cancer

Men

Starting at age 50

Men should talk to their doctor and discuss the pros and cons of testing and decide if testing is the right choice for them

If you are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this talk with your doctor at 45 years of age. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force suggests that you start looking into a prostate cancer screening at the age of 55, but that screening should be an individual choice.

The best thing to remember is that you are in charge of your health. Be aware of your body and if you find something unusual, tell your doctor. Remember that cancer screening needs vary based on risk factors, family history and age. The decision to screen should be shared between the patient and their provider.

The physicians and staff of Revere Health Cancer Center are dedicated to providing highly personalized care for patients diagnosed with cancer. We care for and guide our patients through the entire continuum of cancer diagnosis, treatment and management.

Sources:

“American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer” American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer.html

“Estimating Cost Savings from Early Cancer Diagnosis” MDPI.

https://res.mdpi.com/data/data-02-00030/article_deploy/data-02-00030-v2.pdf?filename=&attachment=1

“Why is early diagnosis important?” Cancer Research UK.

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-symptoms/why-is-early-diagnosis-important

“Cancer” World Health Organization.

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer

“What Should I Know About Screening?” CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/uterine/basic_info/screening.htm

“Recommendations for Primary Care Practice” USPSTF.

https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/recommendations

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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