Get Regular Medical Care to Prevent Cancer
Cancer Prevention Begins With Regular Screenings
The best defenses against cancer are awareness of risks and early detection, so annual checkups and regular medical care are essential to prevention. Your doctor needs to see you regularly to stay caught up on changes that may increase your risks, provide you age and lifestyle appropriate guidelines and recommendations and screen you for early signs of cancer.
Being Aware of Risk Factors
The risk factors for cancer vary depending on the type of cancer but generally include
- Family history – This can relate to inherited genetic markers or to culture and lifestyle choices you share with family. You are considered at greater risk if you have close family members with certain types of cancer.
- Other illnesses – HIV, HPV and other immune deficiency illnesses increase the risk of also developing cancers.
- Smoking or exposure to smoke – Smoking dramatically increases the risk of lung, throat and mouth cancers.
- Exposure to radiation, pesticides, asbestos etc.
- Age – As you age certain cancers are more prevalent.
Importance of Screenings
There are cancer screenings and self-exams your doctor will explain to you as needed. Women should do monthly breast exams, and men should do a monthly testicular exam. The purpose of doing self-exams regularly is to familiarize yourself with your normal body so you will better recognize a change should one occur. Other screenings need to be done on a regular basis in a professional setting. Some exams are not necessary until a certain age, and your doctor will know the appropriate schedule for beginning them and tell you in advance. If you commit to annual checkups your doctor is able to perform or schedule most cancer screenings at or following that appointment. The annual exam with your primary doctor allows them to collect any new health information, assess for risk changes, perform a manual exam for certain cancers and answer questions you may have. Common screenings include
- Mammogram – yearly after 35 (women)
- Prostrate – yearly after 50(men)
- Cervical, endometrial etc – yearly after 21 (women)
- Lung cancer – after 55 years if recommended (men & women)
- Colon – after 50 years (men & women)
With regular screenings and discussions with you doctor, cancer may be preventable. When it is not preventable early detection increases successful treatment.