Regular checkups with your doctor and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits are two ways you can help prevent many cancers. Sometimes, though, a diagnosis is completely out of your control. If you are diagnosed with cancer, screening programs are key to catching it early when effective treatment options and possible cure exist. Here are cancer screening tests that medical experts agree are effective in catching cancer early– or even preventing it!
In research studies, colonoscopies are effective in both preventing cancer and reducing deaths due to late-stage diagnosis. A colonoscopy is capable of detecting abnormal colon growths known as polyps so they can be removed before developing into cancer. The National Institutes of Health states there are long-reaching benefits of regular testing, “Removing polyps during colonoscopy can not only prevent colorectal cancer, but also reduce deaths from the disease for years.”
The US Preventative Task Force recommends regular colonoscopy screenings between the ages of 50 and 75.
Low-Dose CT Scan
This lung cancer screening has been shown effective at catching lung cancer early in heavy smokers aged 55 to 74 years of age. In one recent clinical trial, mortality rates were reduced 16% because the disease was caught early enough to effectively treat.
A common method for screening for breast cancer, mammograms have reduced breast cancer deaths in women between 50 and 74 years of age. Experts agree this is an invaluable tool in the fight against breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institutes, “Regular high-quality screening mammograms are the most sensitive ways to screen for breast cancer.”
This test detects abnormal cells before they become cancer and letting doctors initiate a targeted treatment to eliminate these cells. This testing reduces deaths from cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends regular testing for women between 21 and 65 years of age. “If it’s found early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. In the United States, the cervical cancer death rate declined by more than 50% over the last 30 years. This is thought to be mainly due to the effectiveness of screening with the Pap test.”
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) believes that mammograms are not enough for patients who carry a mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene and/or family history that places them at a higher risk for breast cancer as well as developing other cancers.
The NCCN recommends, “For a high-risk patient, it is recommended that an annual breast MRI be performed in addition to the woman’s annual mammogram.”
Screening works to prevent cancer, catch it early when it does occur, and reduce deaths from this terrible disease. There are free programs to help with screening costs if you cannot afford them. Check out these resources and find providers near you today.
Free Breast and Cervical Screenings:
Free Colon Cancer Screenings:
Free Prostate Screenings:
If you’ve been diagnosed and are having trouble getting the help you need, consider working with a patient navigator who can help you get access to necessary services. The professional services are available at no cost to you. A list of free patient navigators can be found here on our website. If you need help paying for care, check out these programs that pay for certain prescriptions and out-of-pocket expenses relating to your treatment.