The Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix which may turn into cancer. The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes. Pap tests also can find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.
The USPSTF recommends yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for people who have a history of heavy smoking, and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 55 and 80 years old.
Prostate cancer screenings have their own benefits and limitations to early detection testing. It’s important to have a discussion with your primary care provider to review your personal history and level of risk for developing prostate cancer. From there, you and your physician can decide what the best option will be.
Although there are not currently screening guidelines for the early detection of skin cancer, many doctors recommend checking your own skin regularly, typically once a month. Regular skin self-exams are especially important for people who are at higher risk of skin cancer, such as people with reduced immunity, people who have had skin cancer before, and people with a strong family history of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about how often you should examine your skin.
Genetic Education and Testing for Cancer
Hereditary cancer, which represent about 5-10% of all cancers, results from a genetic mutation that was passed down from a parent. Missouri Cancer Associates offers a cancer risk assessment that focuses on personal and family history, environmental and lifestyle factors, and genetics. Genetic testing can help determine if you have an increased risk for certain types of cancer. It can provide early detection, reduce cancer risks, and saves lives. Early detection is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.
A genetic education professional will first assess your family’s medical history and determine if genetic testing is the logical next step.