One of the best ways to maintain our health as we age is to utilize as many preventive health measures as possible. And these days it is easier and easier to do so. Take, for example, cancer screening. It wasn’t that long ago that early detection was rare. Many forms of cancer weren’t identified until the cancer had progressed. However, that is not the case now.
What Options Do You Have for Cancer Screenings?
To start with, there are several types of cancer test options available. Which ones your physician or primary care doctor might recommend is based on several factors. Some of these factors include:
- What is your current age
- Whether you are male or female
- Family history
- Personal health history
- Smoking, drugs or alcohol use
Cancer screenings by age is one of the main criteria in determining which tests you might want to consider. Some of the most common tests for cancer available for seniors include several options for men and for women.
Cancer Screenings for Men
Like most screenings, cancer screening by age is a factor in the best screening recommendations for men. The following are some of the most frequently recommended screenings:
Colon Cancer tests - Designed to identify growths which are called polyps. The polyps can be removed before they turn into cancer. Discuss with your physician the different options that are available to you.
Prostate Cancer tests - There are several forms of prostate cancer tests available. Which one is best for you will be based on personal health history and family history.
Lung Cancer tests – For those between the ages of 55 and 74 that are or were heavy smokers, speak with your physician about the option of testing for lung cancer. For smokers that quit a long time ago (as in a decade or more), your doctor can cover the pros and the cons of the test. This is a screening that is covered by Medicare.
Cancer Screenings for Woman
You and your doctor will discuss what is best for you based on personal history as well as the fact that cancer screenings by age helps to determine the right screenings for you.
Cervical Cancer tests – If you’ve had prior screenings for cervical cancer during the past 10 years that were clear, you probably do not need any further screening. However, if you have a history of cervical pre-cancer continued testing as directed by your physician is recommended.
Breast Cancer tests – This is one of the most important cancer screenings for women! Regular mammograms should be undertaken by all women. After the age of 55, women can opt to have a mammogram every other year. Women with family history or that choose to can opt to continue with annual mammograms.
Lung Cancer test – If you are between the ages of 55 and 74 and are or were a heavy smoker, speak with your physician about the option of screening for lung cancer. If you were a smoker that quit, speak with your doctor about the pros and the cons of the test. Medicare does cover this screening.
Colon Cancer test - Women are recommended to start screening for colon cancer at age 50 and earlier if they have a family history. This test is used to identify growths in the colon called polyps. These growths can be removed before they turn into cancer. Discuss with your physician the different options that are available to you.
As we age, the best way to stay healthy is by preventative health measures. While lifestyle definitely is the key to preventing many health issues, having recommended tests and screenings is one additional way to insure you maintain the best health possible. So if you haven’t had some tests or screenings that you ought to have had, why not make a plan to arrange for that now?