August 16th is the Wellpoint Foundation and American Cancer Society (ACS) National Cancer Screening Day. Wellpoint’s generous grant to ACS has allowed local community organizations and health centers in 14 states advance ACS’s efforts to increase awareness and education for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers. The goal is to offer free cancer screenings to underserved populations. Cancer screening can help detect cancer at an early stage, often before symptoms present. Cancer screening should be routine for all people – if your doctor recommends a screening it does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer.
There are various ways to screen for cancer
Physical exams, tissue testing, blood or urine sampling, imaging and genetic tests are all methods used to check for cancer. Although everyone should be screened there are those who may be at a higher risk for developing cancer. Those who have had cancer in the past, have two or more first degree relatives with or who have had cancer or have certain gene mutations should get screened frequently and talk to a doctor. Below you will find group screening recommendations for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.
Follow these guidelines to help increase your chance of early detection
Cervical Cancer: According to the US Preventative Services Task Force it is recommended that women between the ages 21-65 get a pap test every three years from their gynecologist.
Breast Cancer: Mammograms are the best way to screen for breast cancer. According to the ACS, mammograms should begin at age 40 and should be done every year. This recommendation should also be followed for clinical breast exams. For women ages 20-39 clinical breast exams should take place every three years. Routine breast self-exam is highly recommended and you can learn the procedure here.
Colorectal Cancer: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years. To learn more about these procedures, click here.
Here at Meals to Heal we recommend following these guidelines for yourself and your loved ones. Our goal is to help decrease the burden of cancer and provide helpful education.