The short answer is yes! The main purpose of a screening test is to find cancerous cells or changes that may indicate the presence of such cells before the patient starts experiencing symptoms. In most cases, if a cancer is caught early, the chances of recovery are high. Therefore, regular screenings are important and should not be overlooked.
Plus, as you get further in life, screenings are a must-have since certain cancers start developing in the later stages of life. Still, for many people, the idea of cancer screening is a bit scary (especially for people well into their golden years), which is why they tend to put it off.
Today, we’ll have a look at why cancer screening is important.
Helps with Early Detection
Most cancers don’t have symptoms during the early stages. However, if left unchecked, adult cancers tend to migrate toward the brain, turning into metastatic brain cancer.
If this happens, the disease is already advanced, and the patient may not have that many options The metastatic brain cancer survival rate has improved considerably, but it’s still a diagnostic that may predict early demise.
All this can be prevented with regular cancer screenings and tests. The sooner a cancer is detected, the better it will be for the patient’s chances of recovery and long life. It’s also important to remember that brain tumors are no longer the heavy diagnostic they used to be. Depending on their type and origins, there is the option of surgical treatment for brain tumors, and the recovery rate is promising.
Factors that Increase the Risk of Cancer
While risks vary depending on the type of cancer, specialists agree there are a few conditions that may put patients at a higher risk.
Age and Weight
Sadly, the risk of developing cancer (one type or several) increases with age. This is why medics everywhere recommend screenings for patients in their forties and older.
Of course, screenings should be combined with eating healthy, keeping your weight in check (as much as possible), and being active. These steps are essential for a healthy body and mind, regardless of your age. Plus, if you’re retired, it’s just as important to stay active and social. You can do this by pursuing your passions and connecting with people who have similar interests.
Tobacco use has been linked to an increased risk of a long list of cancers, so patients who have this habit should find a way to quit as soon as possible. Don’t shy away from talking about quitting methods with your doctor if you find you can’t shake it off on your own.
Family History of Cancer
While it’s not always the case, there are situations when cancer can be passed through genes. So if you have a family history of cancer, especially one that was passed from one generation to another, start your screenings earlier than forty.
However, keep in mind that history is not diagnostic; it’s just a factor that puts you at a higher risk.
Overscreening is a Possibility
The reason why doctors recommend different types of screening for different age groups is to make sure the tests do their job while causing as little harm as possible. According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there are certain age thresholds that we need to be aware of when it comes to screening.
For instance, people over 74 shouldn’t get colorectal and breast cancer screenings unless there are needed. The same goes for people over 65 and cervical cancer screening. This is because, above those ages, it’s likelier that patients can get harmed by the test itself, which may lead to further complications.
Regular cancer screenings are important, but at the age recommended by specialists. Still, each person is different, which is why it’s important to have a chat with your general practitioner about it.