Screening for cancer is the act of looking for the disease when symptoms are not present. These tests are designed to identify the presence of cancer early on when treatment is more successful. Screening tests are performed to ensure that patients are in good health and do not necessarily mean that the doctor believes you have cancer.
These tests are usually performed at a person’s annual physical exam when he or she reaches a certain age. Different tests should be performed at different times of a person’s life.
Types of Cancer Screenings
- Physical Exams: Assessing the patient’s physical condition for signs of disease including lumps or unusual marks on the skin.
- Laboratory Tests: Samples of a patient’s urine, blood, tissues, or other substances are collected and viewed under a microscope for signs of abnormal cells.
Screening for Women and Men
Different types of cancer should be screened for throughout a person’s life. The guidelines below have been recommended by the American Cancer Society.
- Breast Cancer: Starting at age 45 women should undergo mammograms each year.
- Colon and Rectal Cancer: Beginning at age 50 adults should have tests performed that either check for polyps and cancer or focus only on cancer.
- Cervical Cancer: Starting at age 21 women should begin screenings. Between 21 and 29 pap smears should performed every 3 years. Between 30 and 65 women should begin to include HPV testing every five years (after 65, women who have had normal results for previous tests in the past 10 years can discontinue testing for HPV).
- Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer: Post-menopausal women should report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to their doctor. An endometrial biopsy may be indicated to rule out endometrial cancer.
- Lung Cancer: Those who smoke and are at a high-risk of developing cancer should be screened.
- Prostate Cancer: Starting at age 50, men should talk to the doctor about prostate screening. If there is a greater risk, men should discuss screenings at age 45.
Alpharetta and Cumming Internal Medicine has experienced staff and physicians who can help you live your life to its fullest. If you live north of Atlanta in Roswell, Woodstock, Johns Creek, Suwanee or Canton, you are just a short distance from the best primary care in Georgia. Call us at 770/475-2377 to schedule an appointment today!