Simple lifestyle changes can decrease your chances of developing cancer, and regular screenings can help doctors detect and treat cancer before it spreads. The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances are for successful treatment.
Make regular screenings a part of keeping you and your loved ones healthy. The following screening guidelines are based on the National Cancer Care Network’s (NCCN) recommendations, but it’s always best talk to your doctor about when to start regular cancer screenings. Don’t have a doctor? Find an AnMed Health family practice near you.
- Monthly breast self-examinations
- For women at normal risk between ages 20 and 39, a clinical breast examination every 1 to 3 years
- Beginning at age 40 year and older, annual clinical breast examinations and screening mammograms
- Women at high risk should discuss their individual risk factors with their physician, because screening recommendations will be based on their particular risk factors.
- Adults at average risk of colon cancer start routine screening at the age of 50, through any of several standard tests or a combination of tests. Those include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and fecal occult blood testing.
- Colonoscopy, done every 10 years, can find and remove polyps - growths in the colon that can potentially become cancerous.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
- For those who are low to moderate risk, routine lung cancer screening is not recommended.
- For those who are high risk (those over 50 with a history of smoking and one additional risk factor; or those over 55 who are still smokers or quit smoking less than 15 years ago), a baseline low-dose CT scan is recommended.
- For men at age 40, consider a baseline PSA and prostate exam and, if your PSA is 1.0 ng/mL or greater, you should receive annual follow-ups. If your PSA is less than 1.0, the NCCN Guidelines recommend that you should be checked again at age 45.
- High-risk men should begin annual PSA and prostate exams at age 40.
- For women who are low to moderate risk, routine ovarian cancer screening is not recommended.
- Get regular skin examinations by a physician. Suspicious moles or lesions will likely require a biopsy.
Cancer Prevention Tips
Lifestyle can play a big part in lowering your risk of developing cancer. For example, according to the American Cancer Society, as many as one third of all cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
To lower your cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends that you:
- Stay away from tobacco.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Get moving with regular physical activity.
- Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
- Protect your skin.
- Know yourself, your family history and your risks.
- Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
As scientists learn more about how cancer works, a number of foods have been identified as having potentially cancer fighting properties. To meet with an integrative medicine specialist about creating a cancer-fighting diet, call (864) 512-4446.