At What Age Should Women Begin Screening for Colon, Prostate, and Breast Cancer
Screening for colon, prostate, and breast cancer should be discussed with your family physician. An understanding of each is necessary to prevent and treat cancer in any of these three areas. Early testing and detection is the best way to prevent serious damage to your health.
Colon Cancer Screening
Most of us know of someone who developed colon cancer and learned about its consequences. To avoid this condition you should have a colonoscopy procedure every 10 years or more often if polyps or other abnormal tissues were found in a previous colonoscopy. Typically, physicians will advise you to get a colonoscopy beginning at age 50.
A colonoscopy will determine if you have a benign tumor or cancer in your colon or rectum. If the procedure is negative and you don’t have any risk factors, you should have another exam done in ten years. If adenomas are removed, the exam should be repeated in five to ten years depending on your doctor’s diagnosis and recommendations.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in the U.S. When caught in its early stages it can be usually be treated successfully. When undetected and untreated until the later stages it may be difficult or impossible to remove and cure. Our specialists at Digestive Medicine Associates have the experience to meet all of your cancer screening needs.
Female Prostate Screening
We think that only men have a prostate gland; however this is not true. Women have two small anatomical structures called Skene’s or paraurethral glands that are referred to as the female prostate. They are located in the urethra and produce a fluid that helps lubricate the urethral opening. The Skene’s glands simulate similar structural components and functions as the male prostate. They even produce prostate specific antigen (PSA) like men’s prostate glands do.
The exact anatomy and function of the Skene’s glands is not completely understood. Cancer does occur in these glands but it is very rare. More commonly, inflammation, infections, or cysts do occur in them. They may be misdiagnosed as other conditions. There is no set age for cancer screening for these glands. However, if unexplained symptoms occur in the urinary tract or vagina talk to your healthcare provide to resolve the issue. They may include:
- Lower urinary tract pain
- Painful urination
- Vaginal pain
- Frequent urination
- Sexual dysfunction
Since most people have little or no knowledge of the “female prostate” it is wise to discuss it with one of our specialists at the time of breast or colon screening.
Screening for Breast Cancer
October is breast cancer awareness month and reminds us that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over her lifetime. The leading cause of death among women is lung cancer and the second leading cause is breast cancer. The causes of breast cancer are not fully understood. This is why screening at a young age is critical for early detection.
The American Cancer Society provides guidelines for women at average risk for breast cancer:
- Begin yearly mammograms by age 45
- Change to mammograms every other year beginning at age 55
- Begin by age 40 if you want to
Some alarming statistics have been released for 2017:
- An estimated 253 new case of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017 and more than 63,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
- About 41,000 women are expected to die in 2017 in America.
This is certainly scary and should motivate you to do all you can to prevent breast cancer. Our specialists at Digestive Medicine Associates are here to do everything to detect, prevent, and treat colon, prostate, or breast cancer.