The sad truth is there are so many different kinds of cancers that it is difficult to narrow down which cancer screenings are the most important to get as they are all so important.
However, there are some cancers that are more prevalent than others and some that are gender specific. This guide to cancer screenings of skin cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer are cancers that are not gender specific and the rate of occurrence are higher for the 3 highlighted cancers than some of the other cancers.
Skin Cancer Screening
A medical professional will do a visual inspection of the body in a private setting, the visual inspection will typically take about 10 minutes. The medical professional will look for any unusually shaped or colored moles, unusual skin discolorations and unusual skin texture. If anything is found that is considered abnormal, the medical professional will order diagnostic testing. Self-examinations for skin cancer can be done at all ages, the American Cancer Society recommends a skin examination done by a medical professional every 3 years between ages 20 and 40, and every year for those over 40 years of age.
Lung Cancer Screening
There are 2 different kinds of common lung cancer screenings, one is a chest x-ray and the other is called sputum cytology. The chest x-ray takes a picture of the organs and bones inside the chest and sputum cytology is performed by obtaining a sampling of the mucus (sputum) that is coughed up from the lungs is analyzed under a microscope for any cancer cells. A spiral CT scan is currently being used for lung cancer screening in clinical trials. Lung cancer screenings are recommended for people between the ages of 50 and 80 who also have risk factors associated with lung cancer such as: past smoking history, history of lung cancer, repeated exposure to second-hand smoke and any exposure to cancer causing agents.
Colon Cancer Screening
The are 5 different kinds of tests used for colon cancer screening, they are: Fecal occult blood test, Sigmoidoscopy, Barium enema, Colonoscopy, digital rectal exam and 2 new screening tests that are used in clinical trials are: Virtual colonoscopy and DNA stool test. The fecal occult blood test involves looking for blood in the stool that can only be viewed through a microscope and a doctor or laboratory can do the testing. The Sigmoidoscopy involves inserting a sigmoidoscope in the sigmoid colon and the scope helps the medical professional to find any abnormal tissue or questionable areas. A Barium enema entails placing a liquid with barium into the rectum area and then x-rays are taken. A Colonoscopy involves placing a colonoscope in the rectum and this scope also helps the medical professional to view any abnormal tissue or questionable areas. The digital rectal exam involves a medical professional with a lubricated, gloved hand to insert their finger in the rectum and feel for any lumps or irregularities. Starting at age 50, people should choose one of the following colon screening schedules: sigmoidoscopy every 5 years or colonoscopy every 10 years or barium enema every 5 years or CT colonography every 5 years.
Starting and then maintaining a skin cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer screening schedule could save your life. It is so important to have these cancer screenings even if no symptoms exist, early detection offers the best chances for complete recovery from these cancers.