New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Delay Your Cancer Screenings

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Each year, countless Americans resolve to live a healthier lifestyle starting January 1 – whether it involves exercising more, maintaining a healthier diet or kicking a harmful habit to the curb.

Research shows nearly one-third of all cancers diagnosed each year can be prevented by making positive lifestyle choices. As you ring in 2014 with family and friends, Coastal Cancer Center recommends talking to your physician about cancer screenings that are appropriate for you and taking steps necessary to prevent or spot cancer early on.

Among the preventative screenings available:

Mammogram – A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast that helps to detect any changes in the breast or development of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of their regular health exam every three years. Women 40 and over should have a mammogram performed each year for as long as they are in good health.

Prostate Exam – It is recommended men over the age of 50 with no family history of prostate cancer begin discussions with their physician about prostate screenings. These conversations should begin at age 45 for men considered “at risk” for the disease – including those with a family history and African Americans. Early prostate cancer can often be spotted through a digital rectal exam or prostate-specific antigen blood test.

Colonoscopy – The American Cancer Society recommends men and women over 50 with an average risk of developing colon cancer schedule a colonoscopy every 10 years.

Pap Test – A Pap test involves scraping a small number of cells from a woman’s cervix to help detect pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. It is recommended women ages 21-29 undergo a Pap test every three years. Once a woman turns 30, doctors suggest combining the routine Pap test with an HPV test every 5 years.

Source: The American Cancer Society