Importance of Screening for Breast, Cervical and Colon Cancers

It’s easy to think that cancer only happens to other people, but in reality it can strike anyone at any time without warning. Some types of cancer can be diagnosed before symptoms arise and in some cases, preventative screenings can even find conditions that often lead to cancer.

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According to the National Cancer Institute, research shows that regular screening tests will reduce the number of deaths from breast, cervical and colon cancers. Even so, the Centers for Disease Control reports that not all Americans are proactive when it comes to these important cancer screenings.

Breast Cancer Screening
Research has found that breast cancer screenings may help diagnose breast cancer early, when it is possible to treat before it spreads and when survival rates are highest. The American Cancer Society reminds women to perform breast self-exams (BSEs) each month to detect any changes in their breasts as soon as possible, but mammography and other imaging techniques are used to detect breast cancer. Women over 40 are advised to have a mammogram every one to two years and doctors may recommend the screening test sooner or more often for women who have other risk factors, such as a family history of breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer Screening
Cervical cancer
is cancer that forms in the cervix, the organ connecting the uterus and vagina. It is almost always caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Tests that can be performed to find cervical cancer (or changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer) include Pap tests, sometimes called Pap smears, and HPV testing. Women routinely have these tests performed at their annual gynecological examinations, but many women fail to visit the gynecologist each year for one reason or another. Regular cervical cancer screenings are the best way to find potential problems before it’s too late.

Colon Cancer Screening
The Centers for Disease Control reports that cancer of the colon and rectum is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. Colon cancer is nearly always caused by precancerous abnormal growths known as polyps. When caught early, polyps can be removed before they grow into cancer. Tests performed to screen for colon cancer include fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. These screening tests can help save lives.

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is pleased to offer an imaging department that combines a patient-friendly atmosphere with state-of-the-art imaging technology. If your doctor has prescribed an MRI, ultrasound or any other type of screening, call us at 1-800-921-7155 to schedule an appointment. Regional Medical Center does not currently offer mammography, but talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you and he or she can direct you to a specialist.

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