Regular exams help detect and prevent several types of cancer
Maintaining a good relationship with your gynecologist allows you to not only stay vital and healthy but also to prevent and detect several cancers that are often considered silent. It is important to schedule your yearly exam with your physician so that the proper screenings are conducted, which can be done through our cancer services at Advocate Trinity Hospital.
You take good care of yourself through diet and exercise. But you may still be missing key safeguards for your health: regular screening tests. Many cancers progress without any symptoms. Screening tests let you detect cancer in its earliest stages.
Here are a few examples of tests you should be receiving:
The Pap test
A Pap test is designed to detect cervical cancer. During a Pap test, a physician collects cells from a women's cervix to examine for abnormalities. Experts claim that women over age 30 can wait three years to be rescreened if they have had normal results.
Clinical breast exam and mammogram
Early detection is critical for successfully treating breast cancer. All women should have a clinical breast exam every year. During a breast exam, doctors feel for lumps or thickening in the breast, armpit and lymph nodes, and look for nipple discharge or changes in skin texture. But some tumors are too small to feel. That's why women over ages 40 and older need a mammogram every year.
Colorectal cancer screening
Screenings for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50. Screening is the key to detecting colorectal polyps before they become cancerous. One basic screening test is a fecal occult blood test (FOBT), which looks for blood shed by tumors in the stool.
A more advanced test is the colonoscopy, which uses a flexible scope to examine the entire colon for suspicious polyps. The polyps can them be removed and tested for cancer.