How to Detect Cancer Early

Cancer refers to the class of diseases which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. It is essential to detect cancer early because it aids in the increased chances of successful treatments. To detect cancer early is through education for the promotion of early diagnosis as well as screening. The American Cancer Society has guidelines in detecting cancer the earliest possible time. Below are the Society’s recommendations on the screening guidelines which are for most of the adult individuals.

Breast Cancer

  • Annual mammograms, beginning 40 years old
  • Clinical breast exam every 3 years during women’s 20s and 30s and yearly when already 40 years old and above
  • Breast self-exam in women’s 20s
  • MRI in addition to the mammograms for some women due to genetic tendency, family history, or other factors

cancer-researchColorectal Cancer and Polyps

Men and women at 50 years old must follow one among the testing schedules:

Tests to find polyps and cancer:

  • Every 5 years for flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Every 10 years for colonoscopy
  • Every 5 years for double-contrast barium enema
  • Every 5 years for CT colonography or virtual colonoscopy

Tests to primarily find cancer:

  • Annual fecal occult blood test
  • Annual fecal immunochemical test

Cervical Cancer

  • Screening starts at 21 years old.
  • Women aging between 21 and 29 years old must have a Pap test for every 3 years. HPV test must not be used unless required following an abnormal result of the Pap test.
  • Women aging 30 to 65 years old must have Pap test and HPV test for every 5 years.
  • Women more than 65 years old who have undergone regular cervical cancer testing having normal results need not be tested for cervical cancer. Women having a history of serious cervical pre-cancer will have continuous testing for at least 20 years even if testing will continue over 65 years old.
  • Women who have their uterus and cervix removed for the reasons unrelated to cancer of the cervix and who have no history of cancer of the cervix or serious pre-cancer need not be tested.
  • Women vaccinated against HPV would still follow the screening schedules.

Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer

All women must be informed of the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer when they reach menopausal age. Unexpected spotting or bleeding requires to be reported to the doctors. Some women may have annual endometrial biopsy due to their history.

Lung Cancer

Qualifications for screening:

  • Ages 55 to 74
  • Fair good health
  • Having history of at least 30 pack-year smoking and either have stopped smoking with the last fifteen years or is still smoking.

Prostate Cancer

Beginning 50 years old, men must talk with a doctor about benefits and risks for testing prostate cancer. PSA blood test may be done with or without the rectal exam. Frequency of test depends of the level of PSA.

Cancer-Related Check-Ups

This is for individuals aging 20 years or older who have periodic health examinations and check-ups and this include health counseling according to the individual’s gender and age as well as examinations for cancers of the oral cavity, lymph nodes, ovaries, testes, skin, thyroid, and non-malignant diseases.


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