Many people want to know – what age is the best age to start screening for cancer. While there is no “exact age” each cancer shows up at different ages, so it’s best to first understand that cancer has no age. While we are simply offering suggestions on when to start screening, it is important to remember to listen to your body and consult a physician if you aren’t feeling well or something seems off. You are your best and first option when it comes to cancer screening.
At age 20 – 29 cancer-related check-ups should be part of your yearly health exams. Cancers of the thyroid, mouth, skin, lymph nodes, testicles, and ovaries can be caught in the earliest stages around this age bracket. For men and women naturally, the testing varies.
It’s important to get tested for colon cancer. Especially if there is a family history of genetic disorders associated with this particular cancer.
Women should begin breast exams during this age bracket at least every 3 years. Don’t forget to perform periodic self-exams to check for any irregularities and contact a nurse or doctor right away if you feel something isn’t right. Cervical cancer tests can begin at this age bracket. While they say that no testing is needed before the age of 21 there are a few cases in which a younger woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer, so be aware. Pap tests should be done every 3 years, and normally an HPV test is not needed unless your Pap test is abnormal. Women also need to be on the lookout for colon cancer. Be sure to start getting tested around this age bracket.
If you are in the 30 – 39 age bracket it is important to continue the testing listed in the previous age bracket.
At ages 40 – 49 continued testing of the previous age brackets is important, however, there are a few differences.
Men need to begin testing for prostate cancer around the age of 45. Men with a higher risk should consult a doctor even earlier, at age 40.
Mammograms should now be done every year instead of every 3 years. Pap tests and HPV tests should be done every 5 years for cervical cancer. If you have had a hysterectomy, no testing is needed for cervical cancer.
If you are ages 50 – 65 here are some important facts to know that can help you decide when to get tested. Keep in mind that the standard tests that begin at age 20 still apply.
At age 50 all men are at risk for colon cancer and need to get tested. The same goes for prostate cancer, and all men above the age of 50 should get tested yearly for colon cancer. Tests of the lungs should also be done to find out whether or not there is a chance for lung cancer to develop, especially for smokers. Those men 55 or older need to consult a physician.
Mammograms should still be done, along with the standard colon cancer tests. However, women, especially those who are smokers, should receive testing to find out if they have lung cancer or not.
If you are 65 or older you need to have all the standard tests done to find out whether or not you have cancer.
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