Cancer Screening Saves Lives
Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer (or for conditions that may lead to cancer) is called screening. Cancer screening often results in reducing the number of people who die from cancer every year.
Talk to your health care provider about when to begin screening for cancer, what tests to have, benefits and risks (potential harms) of each test, and how often to schedule appointments.
Colon Cancer Screening:
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer for both men (after prostate and lung) AND women (after breast and lung). Colon cancer mortality (death) rates in the U.S. have dropped from 28% in 1975 to 17% in 2007. Colon cancer screening in the U.S. has increased from 35% to 63% and is thought to be a major factor in the reduction of deaths due to colon cancer.
Colon cancer screening is recommended for adults between the ages 50-75 who are at average risk of the disease and may be accomplished in several ways:
Tips to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer include:
Breast Cancer Screening:
Breast cancer screening is performed by a mammogram (x-ray of the breast). The VHA recommends screening for breast cancer every 2 years for average risk women between the ages of 50-74.
Cervical Cancer Screening:
Women at average risk should have a Pap test every 3 years beginning at age 21. Women at average risk ages 30-65 should have a Pap test every 5 years.
National Cancer Institute
Annals of Internal Medicine: Summaries for Patient
Center for Disease Control
US Preventive Services Task Force