There are a variety factors that increase your chances of getting cancer; such as family history or lifestyle. Unfortunately, as our age increases, so does our risk of getting cancer. According to the National Institute on Aging, there is some good news that cancer and cancer related deaths are both on the decline.
Exactly what is cancer? The name "cancer" is a general name given to over 100 different diseases. Even though there are different types of cancer, they all start as abnormal cells that begin to grow out of control. When these abormal cells are left untreated, they can lead to serious illness or death. The key is to detect and treat cancer early.
Cancer creenings are essential, especially when you are over the age of 50.
I'm Over 50, Which Cancer Screenings Should I Get?
Clinical Breast Exam. Your doctor will checks the breasts and underarms for lumps or other changes that could be a sign of breast cancer.
Mammogram. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that women in their 50s or older should have a screening mammogram every 1 to 2 years. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.
Fecal Occult Blood Test. This test can detect blood in the stool. Studies show that if you have a fecal occult blood test every 1 or 2 years between the ages of 50 and 80, you can lower your chance of dying from colorectal cancer. Most new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people over age 50.
Sigmoidoscopy. The doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a light to look inside the lower part of the colon and rectum to detect abnormalities. This test is recommended every 5 years in people over 50.
Colonoscopy. Similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but this test looks at the whole colon. Some doctors recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years.
MOUTH & THROAT CANCER:
Oral Exams. Your doctor or dentist will look for any abnormalites in the mouth, throat, lips and tongue.
Digital Rectal Exam. In men over 65, Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer. Researchers are working to find the best screening test for prostate cancer.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test. This test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. Elevated PSA levels can indicate a presence of cancer cells or other problems.
Skin Exams. Studies have found that males over the age of 50 are among the highest risk for getting skin cancer.
Why are screening and early detection so important? Early detection can greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. Sometimes, a routine screening will find an abnormality, this doesn't automatically mean that you have cancer. Your doctor or healthcare provider will require further, in-depth testing to find out for sure. If a diagnosis of cancer has been made, your doctor will discuss the treatment options.