Cancer Screenings by Age

To reduce your chances for developing cancer, you should begin with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle choices. These choices affect your chances of developing cancer now and in your later years.

A few lifestyle choices, for all ages and for both men and women include:

  • Just Say “No!” to Tobacco! There is no safe form of tobacco. Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco and avoid second-hand smoke. There are many free resources in your community to help you stop smoking. Talk with your doctor about options in your area or visit tobaccofreeflorida.com
  • Stay Active! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. (Or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.) Ideally, these workouts should be spread throughout the week. Moderate activity is any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. For another guideline, you should be able to talk but not sing during moderate-intensity activity.
  • Find Your Healthy Weight! Being overweight or obese increases your risk of cancers as well as other medical conditions. Talk to your doctor about a goal weight and the best diet and exercise habits to help you reach your goals.
  • Eat Healthy! Vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants are found in fresh fruits & vegetables. By choosing healthy, whole-grains and limiting your intake of processed meats and carbs, you will gain health benefits that affect all areas of your health.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption! According to the American Cancer Society, “a man should consume no more than 2 drinks per day and women should limit their intake to 1 per day. One drink is considered 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of regular beer or 1 ½ ounces of 80-prrof distilled spirits.”

In addition to these healthy lifestyle choices, there are cancer screenings recommended by age and gender. Let’s take a look at each grouping below.

Age 21-29

  • MEN
    • Colon Cancer Testing – If you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.
  • WOMEN
    • Breast Cancer Screenings – Monthly home screenings are important for recognizing changes in your breasts. If you notice changes or have risk factors, speak with your doctor about when further testing, such as a mammogram, may be appropriate.
    • Cervical Cancer Screening – Starting at age 12-29, women should have a Pap test completed every 3 years. Your doctor may also perform an HPV test along with your Pap to screen for certain HPV types.
    • Colon Cancer Testing – If you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.

Age 30-39

  • MEN
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Again, if you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.
  • WOMEN
    • Breast Cancer Screenings – Monthly home screenings are important for recognizing changes in your breasts. If you notice changes or have risk factors, speak with your doctor about when further testing, such as a mammogram, may be appropriate
    • Cervical Cancer screenings – Beginning at age 30, women who have an average risk of cervical cancer should get a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years. (Some doctors may still recommend every 3 years.) This testing should be followed even if you’ve been vaccinated against HPV.
    • Colon Cancer Testing – If you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.

Age 40-49

  • MEN
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Beginning at age 45, all people of average risk should begin screening. There are several types of testing options and your doctor will recommend what is best for you. If you are under age 45 and you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.
    • Prostate Cancer – Beginning at age 45, men at a higher risk for developing prostate cancer should begin speaking to their doctor about when testing is right for them. (Men with more than one close relative who had prostate cancer before age 65 should begin tests/talks with their doctor at age 40.)
  • WOMEN
    • Breast Cancer – Along with monthly self-checks, women aged 40-44 should have the choice to begin annual mammograms if they chose. Beginning at age 45, women should get a yearly mammogram.
    • Cervical Cancer screenings – Beginning at age 30, women who have an average risk of cervical cancer should get a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years. (Some doctors may still recommend every 3 years.) This testing should be followed even if you’ve been vaccinated against HPV.
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Beginning at age 45, all people of average risk should begin screening. There are several types of testing options and your doctor will recommend what is best for you. If you are under age 45 and you are at a higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings and which tests are right for you. Risk factors include family history, genetic disorders along with other factors.

Age 50-64

  • MEN
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Testing should have started by age 45. If you haven’t started yet, make sure to speak to your doctor.
    • Prostate Cancer – Beginning at age 50, all men at average risk should begin speaking with their doctor about testing to decide if it is time and right for them.
    • Lung Cancer Testing – If you are age 55 and older, make sure you speak to your doctor about if a low-dose CT scan is right for you.
  • WOMEN
    • Breast Cancer Testing – Along with monthly self-checks, women aged 50-54 should have annual mammograms. Beginning at age 55, you can choose to opt into every other year.
    • Cervical Cancer screenings – Your Pap test and an HPV test should be performed every 5 years. (Some doctors may still recommend every 3 years.)
    • Colon Cancer Testing – All people at average risk should have started testing by age 45. If you haven’t started yet, make sure to speak to your doctor.
    • Lung Cancer Testing – If you are age 55 and older, make sure you speak to your doctor about if a low-dose CT scan is right for you.

Age 65 & Up

  • MEN
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Testing is recommended through age 75. After that, you should speak with your doctor about if further testing is right got you. (Screening past age 85 is rare.)
    • Prostate Cancer – Age is not a limiting factor in prostate cancer screening. You should continue speaking with your doctor about if continued testing is right for you.
    • Lung Cancer Testing – Especially if you have a history of smoking, make sure you speak to your doctor about if a low-dose CT scan is right for you.
  • WOMEN
    • Breast Cancer Testing – Along with monthly self-checks, women over the age of 50 should receive a mammogram every 2 years.
    • Cervical Cancer screenings – No further testing may be needed if you have had normal results for the previous 10 years. (Women with a history of serious cervical pre-cancer should still continue screening 20 years after the initial diagnosis.)
    • Colon Cancer Testing – Testing is recommended through age 75. After that, you should speak with your doctor about if further testing is right got you. (Screening past age 85 is rare.)
    • Lung Cancer Testing – Especially if you have a history of smoking, make sure you speak to your doctor about if a low-dose CT scan is right for you.

While these are the current recommended screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society, your current overall health, health history, family history and more will all determine what tests are right for you. Be sure to speak to your doctor about all of your concerns to have the knowledge to weigh the benefits, limitations, risks and costs of screening options.

Screenings give you the best chance of finding cancer as early as possible – and with cancer – the sooner, the better! Screenings can find cancer in people who do not even have symptoms. There is no doubt about it, screening saves lives!

 

Sources:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fphysicalactivity%2Fbasics%2Fadults%2Findex.htm
  • https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines/screening-recommendations-by-age.html
  • https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/cancer-screening-guidelines.html