By Laura Beil, photography by pixabay
Use these guidelines to plan when to test for what.
By now you’ve heard that early detection can save lives. Cancers that are detected before it gets too big or has had a chance to spread, the likelihood of it being treated successfully increases. While different cancers have their own range of signs and symptoms to look out for, knowing when to get tested could aide in early detection.
Cancer type: Breast
Schedule a mammogram every year, starting from age 40. Every month at the same time, do a breast self examination following your menstrual cycle from age 20.
Cancer type: Thyroid
People who have a first-degree relative with thyroid cancer are at high risk and should talk to their doctor about genetic testing or regular ultrasounds, as no routine screening exists.
Cancer type: Cervical
Over 25? Have a Pap smear every three years (although always discuss with your doctor how often you need to be tested). You can be screened before then, to check for abnormalities, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 20 and are sexually active. At age 30, a Pap smear can be combined with HPV testing every five years (an abnormal result may warrant a repeat Pap).
Cancer type: Colon
Starting at age 50, women at average risk (no family history or personal history of inflammatory bowel disease) should have either a colonoscopy every 10 years, a sigmoidoscopy (it examines your colon or intestine using a flexible tube) every five years or an annual stool test.
Cancer type: Melanoma
Regular skin checks are important, as are getting your moles mapped with a Dermascope – a machine that images and tracks lesions on the skin.