Scheduling Cancer Screenings for the New Year

There is a significant amount of information regarding cancer – including types, stages, diagnosis, treatment, causes, and much, much more. Sifting through the information depends on your diagnosis – or potential diagnosis – and if you will be undergoing treatment. But one piece of information seems to remain consistent across the board – early diagnosis is absolutely crucial for successful treatment in most cases and in very many cases can save your life. Yet people still often put off the screenings that they know they should be having.

Now, with the new year upon us, it’s a great time to make a commitment to ourselves and our health by scheduling our routine screenings.

* Women who are age 21 and older should make their appointments with their gynecologist to get a regular pap smear – a routine screening for cervical cancer.

* Starting at age 40, women should schedule their mammogram appointments which screens for breast cancer. For women who have been told by their doctor that they have dense breast tissue, a breast ultrasound may be ordered as a supplement to – or instead of – a mammogram.

* Both men and women age 50 or over should schedule a colonoscopy – a test that screens for polyps and colon cancer.

* Beginning at age 50, men should be screened for prostate cancer – an easy screening that takes place right in the doctor’s office.

With this new commitment to regular screenings on the table, it is also important to commit to a healthy lifestyle through a healthy diet, regular exercise, regular use of sunblock, staying away from tobacco, and limiting alcohol use.

There are none among us who would skip a regular screening for our children but, sadly, many of us do much better at taking care of others than we do at taking care of ourselves. Now is the time. When it comes to overall health and cancer prevention, make this new year your new start for getting healthy and taking care of yourself.

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