Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to schedule mammograms and other life-saving screenings like colonoscopies.
Mammograms Detect Early Breast Cancer
The pink ribbons of Breast Cancer Awareness remind us that screenings save lives. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, but regular mammograms can help detect breast cancer early when it is most treatable. According to the American Cancer Society, all women should begin having annual mammograms by age 45, but they have the choice to begin yearly screening at age 40. At age 55, they can choose to schedule mammograms every other year.
Colonoscopies Detect Colon Cancer Early
A colonoscopy is equally important as a life-saving screening. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States among men and women, but it is mostly preventable through regular screening.
Although there are many other screening methods for colon cancer, a colonoscopy is the most comprehensive because it examines the entire colon for precancerous polyps called adenomas. If adenomas are detected during a colonoscopy, they can be removed so they cannot develop into cancer.
The American Cancer Society recently updated their guidelines on when average-risk adults should begin colon screening. Previously, the ACS suggested that screening should begin at age 50, but they revised the recommended age to 45 due to increased incidence of young-onset colon cancer.
Make an Appointment for a Mammogram and Colonoscopy
Prevention is always less expensive than treatment, so schedule your screening mammogram and screening colonoscopy in October. Medicare and private insurance plans cover most preventative screenings and well visits but call your insurance provider for specific details about your plan. If you have a family history of breast cancer or colon cancer, you may need to schedule a screening before you turn 45, so ask your doctor to review your medical history.