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It is Time to Get Your Cancer Screenings

By: Adam Walter, MD, ProMedica Physicians Gynecology | Oncology and chair of the ProMedica Cancer Institute


A proactive approach to health is the always best approach. That’s especially true when it comes to detecting cancer since it can be present long before any symptoms exist. One of our best tools for detecting cancer early is cancer screenings.

Cancer screenings can detect changes in your body before you feel symptoms and catch cancer early. That is why the best time for someone to be screened is when they are feeling great with no symptoms. Once someone has symptoms, we are no longer talking about screenings and instead talking about diagnostic procedures.
In general, no matter how aggressive a cancer is, if it is caught in an early stage, there will be much better outcomes. It is important to discuss with your health care provider the best screening schedule for you based on your family history and other risk factors. The main cancer screenings help detect, and in some cases prevent, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and lung cancer.
What should we know about breast cancer screenings?

The goal of screening tests for breast cancer is to find it before it causes symptoms (like a lump that can be felt). Generally, women 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years and women 40 and older should have an annual breast exam and an annual mammogram.

What should we know about cervical cancer screenings?

Routine cervical cancer screening is very effective for preventing cervical cancer and deaths from the disease. Women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every three years and women ages 30 to 65: Pap test every three years OR combined Pap test and HPV tests every five years.

What should we know about colorectal cancer screenings?
Men and women at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 45 and then have a colonoscopy every 10 years. If there family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a physician may advise screenings prior to age 45 or additional screenings.
What should we know about prostate cancer screenings?
Beginning at age 40, men should consult with their doctor to make an informed decision on testing, based on personal risk factors.
What should we know about lung cancer screenings?

Men and women ages 50 to 80 with a high risk of lung cancer, such as current or former smokers, should discuss the benefits of a lung cancer screening with their physician.

We know it is best to get your screenings before you have any symptoms, but what are some symptoms to watch for?

The following symptoms can be a strong indication of cancer and you should seek medical attention quickly:

       Breast cancer – masses, lumps, tenderness or nipple discharge.

       Colon cancer – gastrointestinal issues, cramping or bleeding with bowel movements.

       Cervical cancer - a heavy menstrual cycle, pain or bleeding after intercourse.

       Prostate cancer – difficulty urinating, urinating frequently and urine retention.

       Lung cancer – persistent coughing.


While we can be thankful there have been significant advancements in cancer treatment over the years, it is still best to treat it as early as possible. Patients often tell me they wish they could “rewind time” and go get their cancer screening before they ever had symptoms. If you are symptom-free, you are in a fortunate position to be proactive about your health. Please consider making your appropriate cancer screening appointments today.




Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/08/21 21:19:28 -0700.





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