Friday 09 February 2018 - forpatient
Cancer screening for male and female. Regular exercising, intake of a balanced and healthy diet, and good lifestyle choices can ensure great overall health of an individual and decrease the susceptibility to development of cancer, malignant tumors, and other serious illnesses. It is also necessary for all individuals to consult their health care provider about the risk to different kinds of cancers and varied cancer screening tests.
Cancer screening tests are used for purposes of finding any underlying case of malignancy or cancer in individuals who do not elicit any symptoms. Cancer screening tests help find any growth of cancer at the earliest stage possible, when the malignancy is minor and has not metastasized to other parts of the body.
The below listed cancer screening guidelines are recommended for most male and female adults.
Females should learn about all the limitations, advantages, and possible harms associated with mammograms before opting for breast cancer screening.
- Women who are aged between 40 and 44 years can opt for annual screening for breast cancer with mammograms if they want it. Breast x-rays are referred to as mammograms.
- Females between ages 45 and 54 years need to go for annual mammograms.
- Women who are older than 54 years can change over to getting breast cancer screenings once every two years. They may also continue to opt for yearly mammograms.
- Women should continue screening for breast cancer till the time that their health remains good and with life expectation of a decade or more.
- Some females who have a specific genetic predisposition, family history, or other risk factors are advised to get mammograms as well as MRIs when going for the annual cancer screening tests. It may be noted that the percentage of women with increased risk is quite low.
Studies are still ongoing about the potential advantages of prostate cancer screening vis-à-vis the harms caused by prostate malignancy testing and subsequent treatment. Hence, men need to talk to their doctors for recommendations on whether or not to go for prostate cancer testing.
- Males should begin discussing with their health care providers about prostate cancer screen after reaching age 50 years.
- African American men, or those men with a brother or father who have had prostate cancer when they were younger than 65 years old, need to consult their doctors and begin testing at 45 years of age.
- Prostate cancer screening involves a PSA blood test which may or may not be done with a rectal examination. The frequency of testing is usually dependent on the level of PSA.
- Testing for cervical cancer should begin when females reach 21 years of age. Women younger than 21 years should not go for the screenings.
- A Pap test needs to be done once every three years by females aged between 21 years and 29 years. Women in this age group need to go for HPV testing if the Pap test results are abnormal; else HPV test is not needed.
- Females in the age group of 30 to 65 years need to go for Pap test as well as HPV testing, once every five years. This is what doctors recommend, but it is also fine if women in this age group opt for just a Pap test, once every three years.
- Women older than 65 years who have undergone cervical cancer screening on a regular basis over the past decade with negative results need not undergo any further testing. After screening has been stopped, it should not be started again. However, females who have a history of severe pre-cancer cervical abnormalities should continue testing for a minimum of twenty years after such detection of abnormalities, even if testing continues over age 65.
- Cervical screening guidelines available for respective age groups should continue to be followed even by women who have had HPV vaccination.
- Women who have undergone a total hysterectomy (surgical removal of the cervix and the uterus) for reasons other than cervical cancer as well as those with no history of pre-cancer detection or family history of cervical cancer need not undergo cancer screening tests.
The cervical cancer screening schedule for some women with a medical history involving organ transplant, HIV, DES contact, etc., may be different from above. Such women need to consult their doctor for proper schedule.
People with average risk to lung cancer need not undergo associated cancer screening tests. However, high risk individuals, like those who smoke cigarettes, have to go for lung cancer testing.
- Lung cancer screening tests are recommended for individuals aged between 55 and 74 years, are in good health, but have a smoking history of not less than a 30 pack-year, and have stopped smoking over the past 15 years or are still smoking.
- A pack year refers to the total cigarette packs smoked per day by a person multiplied by the total number of years of cigarette smoking. Thus, a person who smoked 1 cigarette pack a day for 30 years has a smoking history of a 30 pack-year. It is the same for a person who has smoked 2 cigarette packs per day for 15 years.
- Lung cancer screening involves an LDCT or low-dose CT scan of the chest done per year.
Rectal and colon cancer and polyps
Males and females aged 50 years and over need to get the below mentioned cancer screening tests for finding colon cancer, rectal cancer, and polyps. If they are available, the first choice should be to go for screening tests that detect both polyps and cancer in the early stages.
- Some of the recommended tests that help find just cancer:
- FIT or fecal immunochemical test every year. The take-home multiple stool test can be used for this. A single test carried out at a clinic is not sufficient. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy. (OR)
- sDNA or Stool DNA test, once every three years. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy. (OR)
- gFOBT or guaiac-linked fecal occult blood test every year. The take-home multiple stool test can be used for this. A single test carried out at a clinic is not sufficient. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy.
- Some of the recommended tests that help find cancer and polyps are:
- Colonoscopy to be done once every ten years, (OR)
- Virtual colonoscopy or CT colonography, once every five years. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy. (OR)
- Double-contrast barium enema, once every five years. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy. (OR)
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy, once every five years. If the test results are positive, then patients need to get a colonoscopy.
The screening schedule for individuals with increased vulnerability to developing colon cancer (due to genetic predisposition, family history, or other risk factors) will be different from above. Such individuals need to consult their doctor and select a cancer screening schedule that is ideal for them.
- Women who are undergoing menopause need to consult their doctors and get abreast about the different risks and symptoms associated with endometrial cancer. Any inexplicable spotting or bleeding from the vagina needs to be immediately reported to the physician.
- Due to family or personal medical history, some women may have to think about undergoing endometrial biopsy annually. Talk to the doctor about your history and work out a schedule.
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