Improving odds with early cancer detection

There has never been a better time to get cancer. That's to say, the cancer screening used for diagnosis and the trea
abigailbobrow
May 24, 2010

There has never been a better time to get cancer.

That's to say, the cancer screening used for diagnosis and the treatment used for the cure have never been more effective.

To stay on top of skin cancerdevelopments, doctors recommend periodic full body exams.

They also advocate keeping tabs on some major cancer culprits.

If you smoke, stop. If you're obese, lose weight. If you're sedentary, move around.

So to improve your odds of early cancer detection, check out this list of what to look for and when to look for it:

Women

Breast Exams: Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40, earlier if there is a familial history, genetic tendency or previous breast cancer.

Cervix: Screenings like a Pap smear should begin approximately three years after a woman starts having sex or beginning at age 21.

Men

Prostate: The prostate-specific antigen test and the digital rectal exam should be offered regularly at age 50. Black men and all men with a strong familial history of the cancer should be tested starting at age 45.

Men and Women

Colon and Rectum: Beginning at age 50, men and women should begin screening with a number of options, which could include a colonoscopy, every 10 years.

NOTE: If a first-degree family member has been diagnosed with one of the above diseases, screening should begin five to 10 years before the family member’s diagnosis.

Go online to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force at ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm for more information.