Did you know that even a small change in your body, can be indicative of cancer? Scary it is indeed! However thanks to the many advancements in the field of medicine, you can now diagnose cancer at very early stages. There are many age appropriate and highly affordable cancer screening tests for women that you should undergo regularly!
Screening for Breast Cancer:
Any pain or lump in the breast or underarm area or a change in the way the breast feels or looks should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately. Women between the ages of 40 and 44 can go for breast cancer screening yearly, which includes mammograms (ultrasound and x ray mammograms). Ultrasound mammogram is a safe procedure and does not involve radiation and can be done for all age groups. X ray mammograms are usually done for those over 40 years of age because there is a minimal radiation exposure involved during the procedure. However, the advantages and disadvantages of the screening should first be taken into consideration.
On the other hand, any woman who has reached the age of 45 should get an annual women cancer screening exam with mammogram without fail.
Some women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. If you fall into this category, you should consult your healthcare provider to determine when you should start getting mandatory mammograms and whether it is prudent to get other tests also done.
Screening for Cervical Cancer:
Once a woman reaches the age of 30, she should get a PAP smear test and HPV test done every 5 years. Alternatively, the woman can just opt for a PAP smear test every 3 years.
Even if you have been vaccinated against HPV, testing for HPV should be done. However, if you have had a hysterectomy, wherein your uterus and cervix was surgically removed, you do not have to get yourself tested for cervical cancer.
Screening for Lung Cancer:
If you are or were a smoker and you are 55 years or older you may get an Xray chest done annually. Please consult your healthcare provider to find out whether you should have a low-dose CT scan done to test for lung cancer.
Lung cancer screening is recommended for women who are active smokers or quit smoking in the last 15 years or have a history of smoking one cigarette or more per day. Before you decide to opt for lung cancer screening, speak to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons and the cost of the tests. Remember, your health insurance may not cover the cost of the tests, and if this happens, you will be paying out of your pocket for the screening.
Screening for Colon Cancer:
Women have an average risk of developing colon cancer. Hence, by the age of 50, women should get themselves tested for colon cancer. The risk of colon cancer increases if you have any individuals in previous generations who had the condition. There are numerous screening options available. So, consult your healthcare provider today to find out which test is the right one for you. Also, find out the frequency of testing.
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