At Bon Secours, 58% of cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. Treating cancer before it has spread can greatly increase the chance of a positive outcome. Talk to your primary care doctor about which screenings are right for you and when to begin. In general these tests are recommended:
- Breast Cancers – Clinical breast exams should be performed every three years for women ages 20 to 30 and every year for women age 40 and older. Yearly mammograms are recommended at age 40. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel, and report any breast changes promptly to their physician.
- Cervical Cancer – Women should begin cervical cancer screening three years after they begin intercourse, but no later than age 21. Pap tests should be given every year or every two years using the newer, liquid-based Pap test. After age 30, women who have had three normal Pap tests may get screened every two to three years. The human papilloma virus (HPV) test should also be given.
- Colorectal Cancers – For patients ages 50 to 74, a colonoscopy is recommended every ten years. People at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer should begin screening at a younger age.
- Skin Cancers – Everyone should perform monthly skin checks, becoming familiar with the location, size, and color of moles, freckles, and other marks.
- Oral Cancers – Under bright light, look into a mirror, pressing the sides and front of the neck to check for any lumps or sore areas. Check gums and insides of lips, as well as under the tongue, and the roof of the mouth.
- Testicular Cancer – Perform monthly self-exams.
- Prostate Cancer – At age 50, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testing. If you are African American or have family members who had prostate cancer before age 65, talk with your doctor about starting testing at age 45. If you are tested, you should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam.