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Four Types of Cancer Screenings You Should Get as You Age

Jun 18 2020

By Emma Sturgis

Cancer is a frightening disease, but in some cases, it can be prevented or mitigated by early detection. Here are four screenings that you should routinely get as you age; the first two are for men and women. The third is for men specifically, and the fourth is for women only.

Skin cancer screening

According to WebMD, skin cancer is the most common cancer. Of course, there is no formal skin cancer screening akin to a mammogram for breast cancer. However, any adult with fair skin and/or adults who have spent a lot of time in the sun (with or without the application of sunscreen) should schedule an annual appointment with his or her dermatologist.

The dermatologist will evaluate all moles and skin markings (and keep notes of their size and shape) so changes can be quickly identified and biopsied as needed.

While melanoma is the most serious of the skin cancers, it is important to get treated for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas also.

Colon cancer screening

Healthline states that everyone over 50 years of age with an average risk for colon cancer should get a colonoscopy at least once every ten years or more frequently if directed by a doctor.

Katie Couric who lost her husband Jay to colon cancer has been public with the importance of getting routine colonoscopies and even has allowed a news crew to film her undergoing one.

Men: Prostate cancer screening

Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test is a non-invasive way for men who are between the ages of 55 and 69 to get an indication if they have prostate cancer.

The blood test is sometimes not correct so a digital rectal examination (DRE) may accompany or precede a doctor's recommendation for the blood test.

As with skin cancer screenings, there is not a set process in place, but men should maintain a relationship and regular visits with their doctors to monitor.

Women: Breast cancer screening

Breast cancers can be detected through mammograms. Depending on a woman's family history, she may need to get annual mammograms before she turns 40. Different organizations recommend differing frequencies with which women should get mammograms. The best way to find out what is appropriate for you is to have an annual checkup with your OB/GYN who will prescribe mammograms as necessary.

As you age, it is even more important to be aware of your health and get regular screenings. Remember these cancer screenings next time you visit your doctor or cancer center.