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Stay on Top of Screenings

When it comes to cancer, preventive screenings save lives. Screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap tests look for abnormalities that may be cancer or precancerous cells. These cells may be present long before you have any symptoms. So your health care team can get a jump on fighting cancer before you may have noticed any signs.

When Should I Be Screened?

Your doctor can help determine how soon you should begin cancer screenings and how often you should have them. He or she will take into consideration any risk factors you have, such as your personal and family health history. Earlier screenings may be appropriate for some people.

Consider these general guidelines:

  • Beginning at age 21, women should have a Pap test every three years.
  • Women age 40 or older should consider having a mammogram every one to two years.
  • For women and men over 50, colonoscopies are recommended every 10 years. Talk to your doctor about alternative colon cancer screening tests.

Can I Reduce My Cancer Risk?

You can’t completely eliminate your cancer risk. But there are steps you can take, in addition to routine screenings, that may help lower your risk:

Making positive lifestyle changes and participating in early screenings can improve your chances of beating cancer if it does occur. These same lifestyle changes can also increase the odds of living a healthier, longer life. So please — get screened.

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