Breast Cancer: Beginning at the age of 40, mammograms have been proven to be the most effective way to screen for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society’s Facts & Figures 2019 report indicates that breast cancer death rates declined 40% from 1989 to 2016 among women. The progress is attributed to improvements in early detection.
Cervical Cancer: Pap tests can detect abnormal cells in a woman’s cervix that might turn in to cancer, and it can find cervical cancers early. Screening women for HPV (human papillomavirus) has also been effective because the virus is responsible for the cell changes that cause cancer of the cervix. When detected early, this cancer has a greater chance of being cured. Cervical screening should begin at age 21.
Colorectal Cancer: There are several tests that are used to help detect colon cancer, but the gold standard is the colonoscopy. This screening test can find precancerous polyps and they can be removed before they become cancer. The colonoscopy examines the entire colon and can find colon cancer at an earlier stage when there is a higher chance of successful treatment.
Lung Cancer: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that patients discuss their health history and individual risk factors with their physician to determine if lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan is recommended. This includes individuals who are in one of these groups:
Group 1 individuals age 55 to 77 with a 30 or more pack year history who currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago
Group 2 individuals aged 50 or older with a 20 or more pack year history who are either current or former smokers with at least 1 additional risk factor such as personal history of lung cancer, family history of lung cancer in first degree relatives, radon exposure, and occupational exposure