CBS news reports on the effectiveness of preventive screening. Researchers are saying that these tests are critical to women’s health.
Why is it so important to get preventative screening?
It is no secret that physicians are much more capable of effectively treating numerous deadly diseases when they are detected early on, which is why routine preventive screening tests are so important. And certain tests are especially important for women. Which tests are the most important? Experts are emphasizing mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies, which have the potential to save millions of lives. However, countless women still do not know when they are supposed to start getting them or how often the tests are really necessary.
One sixty-one year old woman told CBS about how her colonoscopy saved her life. The scan found her stage three colon cancer. She said, “I don't know, we think we are invincible. I am a fairly healthy person. I am active; I have a lot of energy. And there were no symptoms.”
At which age should women officially start screening for certain cancers? Most health experts recommend that women start screening for colorectal cancer at around age fifty. Some doctors also think that women can do less invasive exams at home.
Experts admit that the guidelines can be confusing and difficult to follow.
When should women start getting mammograms? This realm of preventive screening is also in contention. Most groups, such as the American Cancer Society, say women at a general risk for breast cancer should get a mammogram every year starting at the age of 40.
Many doctors say there are many factors and reasons why women should take certain steps. Some experts say that while women should definitely be diligent about undergoing tests for these common cancers, another good way to stay healthy is to have regular check-ups to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes dangers, since heart disease is still the biggest killer of women in the United States.
“Your physician's decision to order certain screening tests at an earlier or later age than average may have to do with a number of personalized factors such as age, weight, existing health conditions and whether you have a family history of disease. For example, women who test positive for BRCA mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, which significantly raise the risk for breast cancer, are encouraged to begin screenings earlier. ” according to CBS news.
How often should women get preventive care for cervical cancer? Most doctors suggest that women start getting the Pap test at around age 21 and do so every three years. And after the age of 30 doctors suggest getting the test every five years as along as women are also getting updated HPV testing.
CBS reports, “Patients should become familiar with the screening guidelines from organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Heart Association, then discuss a screening plan with their doctor.”