Source: Advertiser News North
When should you begin cancer screenings? How about cholesterol and blood pressure testing? The answer isn’t the same for everyone. Of course, you should discuss any concerns with you primary care doctor who can help guide them based on your individual needs.
Some people have increased risk for certain conditions because of family history or their ethnicity. But for those of average risk, here are a list of screenings that should be done and when based on recommendations from the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Blood Pressure: Age 20, at each regular doctor’s visit, at least every two years
Obesity: Age 20, body mass index (BMI) at each regular doctor’s visit
Cholesterol: Starting at age 20, at least every five years
Blood Blucose (Sugar): Starting at age 45, every three years
Colon cancer: Age 50, every 1 to 10 years depending on the test your doctor uses. Tests include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, guaiac-based fecal occult blood test and others. Earlier for people with a family history or other risk factors after a discussion with their doctor.
Skin Cancer: There are no set guidelines; those with a family history or who notice any suspicious moles or spots should talk to their doctor.
Lung Cancer: People at high risk for lung cancer, current smokers age 55 to 74 who have a smoking history of 30 pack-years or greater, e.g. smoke an average of one pack of cigarettes for 30 years, two packs for 15 years, etc. or those who have quit within the past 15 years, should discuss low-dose CT scan with their doctor.
Age 40 to 44, women should choose whether to begin mammograms (x-rays of the breast)
Age 45 to 54, yearly mammograms
Age 55 and older, continue yearly mammograms or every other year
Age 21 to 29, pap test every 3 years
Age 30 to 65, pap test every 5 years
Bone Loss: Bone density testing at age 65
Age 40 to 45, men at higher risk, including African-American men and those with family history.
Age 50, prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam after discussing with doctor. Repeat testing depends on your levels.
Eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol and getting regular checkups and screenings are all elements of a healthier life.