The American Cancer Society has recommended a number of guidelines for screening to be followed by all adults for early detection of various kinds of cancers.
According to U.K. cancer research, the most common cancers worldwide—lung, breast, colorectal, and stomach cancers—account for 40% of all detected cancers and almost half of all cancer-related deaths (7.8 million).
Lung cancer is the most common cause of death in the world. It is known to occur more frequently in men than women. However, the frequency is the same in developed as well as developing countries, and survival rate is poor in both. Smoking is a major risk factor for this disease. If you are a smoker, you may consider getting screened for lung cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and it is also the most common cause of death among women. The risk factors include having lesser number of children, less amount of breast feeding and use of exogenous hormones.
According to the guidelines:
# Women should be aware of how their breasts look and feel. If they notice anything unusual visually or to touch, it should be reported to their doctor immediately.
# Women who have personal or family history of breast cancer or any other cancer and women with genetic tendency should get an MRI.
# Yearly mammograms are a must for all women above 40.
# Women in their 20’s and 30’s should go for clinical breast exam every three years.
Colorectal cancer and polyps
The third most common cancer in the world is colorectal cancer. It is the fourth most common cause of death by cancer in the world. The causes of colorectal cancers include excessive consumption of red meats, alcohol intake, smoking, lack of physical activity, and being overweight, among other things.
It is recommended that at the age of 50, all adults should go for screening tests to detect polyps or cancer of the colon and rectum. There are certain tests that detect polyps earlier, and earlier detection can lead to better treatment and cure.
The tests for detection of polyps and colorectal cancer include:
- Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Yearly fecal occult blood test
- Yearly fecal immunological test
- Stool DNA test
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer found in women. This type of cancer is known to occur more commonly among women in developing countries because of HPV and use of oral contraceptives. Moreover, lack of earlier screening programs in developing countries is a common mortality factor.
Suggestions for reducing cervical cancer risks:
- Cervical cancer screening should be done after the age of 21.
- A pap test should be done every three years for women between 21 to 29 years of age.
- HPV test can be performed if pap test results show abnormality.
- A co-test, that is, combining a pap test and HPV test for women between 30 to 65 years is also effective.
- Women with previous history of cervical or other cancer should get regular tests done for at least 20 more years.
Some general guidelines for all cancer types
The American Cancer Society recommends that periodic cancer checkup should be scheduled for all adults along with their regular health checkups, depending on the age, health status, and gender.
Health exams for thyroid, oral cavity, skin, lymph nodes, testes and ovaries, and some nonmalignant diseases should be included in checkup schedules for all adults above 20 years.
Following are a few common steps that can be taken to reduce cancer risk:
- Say NO to tobacco
- Keep a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Include fruits and vegetables in your diet in fair amount
- Limit alcohol, red meat, and fat
- Be aware of your family history and exposure to cancer risks
- Protect your skin
Follow these guidelines to prevent cancers, and to detect it early if you do develop it, to ensure better and more effective treatment.
Empowered doctor has been a pioneer in providing best cancer treatment as well as follow up to patients suffering from various cancer types.