Celebrate the fathers in your life this June by encouraging them to protect their health by getting up to date on cancer screening tests. Screening tests look for cancer before a person has any signs or symptoms. Regular screenings can catch some cancers early, when they’re small, have not spread, and may be easier to treat. With colorectal cancer, some screening tests can even help prevent cancer from developing in the first place.
- Regular screening should start at age 45 for anyone at average risk, and possibly earlier if there is a family history of colon or rectal cancer or colon problems that raise the risk for cancer.
- Anyone in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75.
- Screening between the ages of 76 to 85 should be based on personal factors, health, and prior screening history.
- There are several different tests that screen for colorectal cancer. The most important thing is to get screened, no matter which test you choose.
- Some tests can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding growths called polyps, which can then be removed before they turn into cancer. Other tests help to find colorectal cancer earlier, when treatments are more likely to be successful.
- Talk to your doctor about when you should start screening and which tests might be right for you. Ask your insurer about coverage for screening tests.
- Starting at age 50, men should talk to their doctor about the pros and cons of prostate cancer testing, and then decide if they want to be tested.
- Men at high risk (such as African American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry, and those with a family history of the disease) should have this talk at age 45 or 40 depending on level of risk.
- Anyone 50 to 80 years of age, who smokes or used to smoke and has a 20 pack-year history of smoking may be at higher risk for lung cancer.
- Yearly lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan is recommended for certain people at higher risk for lung cancer.
- It's important to talk to a health care provider about your risk for lung cancer, and the possible benefits, limits, and harms of getting tested for early lung cancer.
- Screening does not make it OK to keep using tobacco. If you or the men in your life smoke, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 for help quitting.
- Everyone should be aware of all moles and spots on their skin, and report any changes to a doctor right away. Some doctors and other health care professionals include skin exams as part of routine health check-ups.