As an essential component of a comprehensive preventive health care plan, cancer screening is used to help detect certain types of cancer before any noticeable symptoms appear. Board-certified internist Steven L. Saunders, MD, MBA, FACP, in Milford, Connecticut, offers a full scope of cancer screenings for men and women of all ages, ranging from Pap smear tests and mammograms to prostate screenings and colonoscopies. To schedule your next screening, call Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, or book an appointment online today.
Cancer is a group of related diseases characterized by the abnormal growth of cells that destroys normal, healthy cells. It can develop in any part of the body, including your organs, bones, muscles, and skin. It can also spread from its point of origin to other parts of your body.
Cancer is widespread, affecting nearly two in five people in the United States — or roughly 40% of Americans — at some point in their lives. The seven most commonly diagnosed forms of cancer in the United States are:
Luckily, as advances in oncological medicine continue to progress, more people are surviving cancer than ever before. Even more importantly, advances in routine screening tests mean that more people are catching the disease early, in its most treatable stage.
Although there is a wide range of cancer screening tests available, Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, recommends specific tests for the vast majority of patients.
For women, recommended cancer screening tests include:
Typically performed during a routine pelvic exam, a Pap smear detects abnormal cells in your cervix. Although a Pap test is generally recommended every three years for women between the ages of 21 and 65, once you turn 30, you may have a Pap smear along with an HPV screening every five years.
During the breast exam portion of a routine physical or well-woman exam, Dr. Saunders checks your breasts for visible signs as well as tactile evidence of breast cancer. Even if your breast exam is normal, you may need a mammogram annually if you have a family history of breast cancer, you recently turned 40, or you’re over 40.
For men, recommended cancer screening tests include:
Starting at the age of 45, men with a higher than average risk for prostate cancer — including men of African descent and men with a close family history of early prostate cancer (before the age of 65) — should consider having a prostate cancer screening.
Men with more than one close relative who had the disease before the age of 65 should consider being screening starting at the age of 40, using a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam.
For women and men alike, Dr. Saunders might recommend a colorectal cancer screening.
The vast majority of adults over age 50 need cancer screenings for colon cancer and rectal cancer.
Screening guidelines suggest having a conventional colonoscopy once every 10 years, a virtual once every five years — with a traditional colonoscopy if polyps are present — or a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) annually.
Depending on your current health, personal medical history, family history, and lifestyle, you may be a candidate for other cancer screenings, too. At Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, you receive customized cancer screenings that take into account your personal and family medical history.
For example, if you used to smoke or still do, a lung cancer screening can help you catch the disease early on. Likewise, if your personal medical history puts you at an increased risk for liver cancer, liver cancer screenings should be a routine part of your preventive health care plan.
To find out which cancer screenings you should consider, call Steven L. Saunders, MD, LLC, or schedule an appointment online today.