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National Women’s Check-up Day: Cancer Screenings

May 12 is celebrated as National Women’s Check-up Day. One of the most important aspects of routine check ups includes cancer screenings. Routine cancer screenings aim to find disease at an early stage, before symptoms appear, making the chances for successful treatment greater. Potential screening methods vary by disease but can include physical examinations, laboratory tests, medical imaging procedures and genetic testing.

Learn more about screening techniques for some common types of cancer below:

Lung Cancer:

For those with the highest risk of lung cancer, screening is highly recommended. High-risk patients include those who are current or former smokers with a history of at least one pack a day for 30 years.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended a low-dose CT scan every year for people who are current smokers (or have quit in the last 15 years) aged 55 to 80.

To learn more about lung cancer screening and guidelines, visit the American Lung Association.

Breast Cancer:

There are several different types of breast cancer screening tests including mammograms, MRIs and self-breast exams.

Mammograms are the most common breast cancer screening method. An x-ray of the breast, the mammogram is used to find tumors that are too small to feel. It is recommended as an annual test for women ages 40 to 74.

Before undergoing any screening tests, monthly breast self-exams are highly recommended. Visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation to learn more about breast self-exams.

Brain Tumors:

No standardized screening exists for the detection of brain tumors. If your doctor suspects you may have a brain tumor, potential screening methods include a neurological exam or imaging tests. Those with a family history of brain tumors may want to discuss monitoring for the disease with their doctor.

Before undergoing any tests, it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cancer screening with a doctor.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.