26 May, 2023

Study Shows: Screening for Cancer Reduces Disease & Death

You have probably heard it said that “catching the cancer early” is always a good thing. This is because detecting cancer in its early stage, before it has grown and spread, can be a key factor in treating and often curing cancer.

There are several methods physicians currently use to screen for various cancers. Some screenings, such as imaging exams, can detect cancer early, such as mammography for breast cancer and low-dose chest CT for lung cancer. Other screening tests can also detect cancer early as well as detect cancer precursors, which can allow for preventative measures to impede the development of cancer (such as colonoscopy for colorectal cancer and Pap smears and/or HPV testing for cervical cancer).

A new study conducted at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago showed that screening tests for cancer lead to diagnoses of about 14% of all cancers in the United States.

Currently, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for cancers of the breast, cervix, colon and lung. These cancers account for about 29% of all cancers and about 25% of all cancer-related deaths in the U.S. There are also screenings for prostate cancer, skin cancer, and head, neck and oral cancers, which usually take place during physical exams.

The researchers from NORC point out that this study marks the first time that the proportion of cancers detected annually through screening tests have been calculated. And while the study is encouraging, other studies show that overall adherence rates to regular screenings are still low.

The National Institutes of Health projects that in 2023 there will be 1,958.310 new cancer cases and 609,820 cancer deaths in the United States. If screening has been shown to diagnose 14% of these cancers, imagine how many more could be diagnosed at an early stage if everyone maintained their regular screening exams?

Here is a review of the recommended screening tests to help guide you toward your best health:

Breast Cancer

  • Women age 40 should start having annual mammograms.

  • Women 55 and older can switch to mammograms every other year, or continue with yearly screening.

  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

  • Some women who have a family history of breast cancer, a genetic tendency or certain other factors, should be screened with a supplemental breast MRI, along with mammograms. (Speak with your healthcare provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you)

Colon and Rectal Cancer

  • Everyone, age 45, who is at average risk for colorectal cancer should start screening.

  • If you’re in good health, continue screening through age 75.

Cervical Cancer

  • Women age 25 should start screening for cervical cancer.

  • Women should get a primary HPV (human papillomavirus) test done every 5 years or a Pap test every 3 years.

  • The most important thing to remember is to get screened regularly, no matter which test you get.

  • People over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing in the past 10 years with normal results no longer need to be tested for cervical cancer.

  • Those with a history of serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 25 years after that diagnosis, even if testing goes past age 65.

  • People who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for their age group.

Lung Cancer

  • Low-dose chest CT exam is recommended for people who meet the following criteria:

  • Are 50 to 80 years old and currently smoke or have quit in the last 15 years, and

  • Have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history.

Prostate Cancer

  • General guidelines recommend starting PSA testing at age 55, but you may need PSA screening between the ages of 40 and 54 if you:

    • Have at least one first-degree relative (such as your father or brother) who has had prostate cancer.

    • Have at least two extended family members who have had prostate cancer.

    • Are African-American, an ethnicity that has a higher risk of developing more aggressive cancers.

  • How often you’re tested will depend on your PSA level.

Other Ways to Help Reduce Your Cancer Risk

In addition to regular screenings, you should also get regular skin checks to look for irregular moles, which could indicate skin cancer.

  • Stay away from all forms of tobacco.

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.

  • Get moving with regular physical activity.

  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Experts recommend no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day for women or 2 per day for men.

  • Protect your skin.

  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.

RadNet centers provide the most cutting-edge state-of-the-art technology for imaging exams to help you take charge of your health. These include:

  • 3-D Mammography with AI (artificial intelligence)

  • Breast MRI and Breast Ultrasound

  • Virtual Colonoscopy

  • Low-dose Lung CT

  • Prostate MRI

Visit www.radnet.com for more information on locations and services.


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26 May, 2023

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