What Cancer Screenings Should I Attend

Screenings

Cancer is an incredibly scary illness, but with good screening programs, better awareness and modern medicine, you’re much more likely to survive than ever before. Screening is fantastic as it checks otherwise healthy people and picks up changes at the earliest stage, unfortunately with cancer once symptoms arise things can already have progressed. Here’s what you need to know. 

Cervical Cancer Screening: Women Starting Early to Mid Twenties

Thanks to cervical screening programs being rolled out in lots of countries in the world, only a very small number of women now die because of cervical cancer. This particular illness has many years of cell changes before turning into cancer meaning it’s almost always picked up at the earliest and most treatable stage before there are any kinds of symptoms. The age when women are offered their first screening will depend on the place they live in, but it’s usually around mid-twenties. Most results come back fine if there are cell changes the sample will be tested for high risk strains of HPV which cause almost all cases of cervical cancer. If the test is positive, usually the cells are removed in a simple procedure. If the test is negative for HPV it’s unlikely the woman will develop cervical cancer (even if there are mild cell changes) and she will be invited back in three years as normal. 

Breast Cancer Screening: Women Aged 50-70

Breast cancer is a huge problem, with about one in eight women being diagnosed during their lifetime. In the vast majority of cases, the woman is over fifty which is why screening programs usually begin at fifty, although it can start earlier if you have had any risk factors (such as a close relative who has been diagnosed). Breast cancer screenings are usually conducted every three years and they’re quick and simple to do, so if you’ve been invited be sure to attend, as with any kind of cancer the earlier it’s caught, the better chance of survival you have. 

Prostate Cancer Screening: Men Over 50

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Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among older men, but despite this, there’s no official screening program. If you go in for a general doctor’s check or about something unrelated and you’re a man over fifty, the doctor might ask to check which while slightly uncomfortable is quick and easy. Another way to check for prostate cancer is to have a blood test, if certain levels are raised it can indicate that further investigation is needed. Modern technology has made this difficult cancer easier to detect and treat, proton therapy centers are particularly good for this as it’s able to destroy the cancer cells without damaging any surrounding tissue. 

Bowel Cancer Screening: Everyone Aged 60-74

Cancer that affects both genders is bowel cancer, with our modern-day diets that are too high in fat, salt and sugar this is an illness that’s becoming more prominent. A test called Faecal Occult Blood Testing can be used and it can be done from home which avoids some of the embarrassment of visiting the doctors. While a scary illness, if caught early almost everyone survives bowel cancer which is so reassuring, so if you’re aged over fifty do be sure to be checked and mention this to your GP. 

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