Don’t Skip Preventive Cancer Screenings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
August 28, 2020
At The Hope Center for Cancer Care we understand the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected your daily activities and your ability to obtain routine exams. However, our physicians urge you to continue getting your preventive cancer screenings. Routine screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies are important to your overall health.
A recent study showed that in March 2020, screening rates for breast, colon, and cervical cancers saw a significant drop, as much as 95% from the previous year1. This is a cause for great concern as early detection remains the most effective way to prevent cancer death.
View the guidelines for the early detection of certain cancers below:
- Age 21: Testing may be recommended if you have a higher than average risk for colon cancer.
- Age 50: Everyone should begin regular screenings.
- Age 55: If you are a current or former smoker, talk to your doctor to discuss the option of starting yearly low-dose CT scans.
Prostate Cancer (men only)
- Age 40: You may need to begin screenings if you have a higher than average risk for prostate cancer.
- Age 50: All men should talk to their doctor about their screening options.
Breast Cancer (women only)
- Age 21: Begin breast self-exams and talk to your doctor about screening options if you have a higher than average risk for the disease.
- Age 45: All women should begin getting annual mammograms; some may choose to start at 40.
- Age 55: Some women may choose to have mammograms every two years instead.
Cervical Cancer (women only)
- Age 21: Women should have a PAP test every three years.
- Age 30: Women should have a PAP and HPV test every five years, or can choose to continue just the PAP test every three years.
- Age 65: No testing is needed if you’ve had normal screening results for the past 10 years.
Early Detection of Other Cancers
While there are no official screening guidelines for the following cancers, these tips can help with early detection.
Skin Cancer and Melanoma
Be familiar with your own skin and look for changes in moles, freckles and blemishes. Have your doctor check your skin as part of your annual exam, especially if you have a higher risk for skin cancer.
Early signs of bladder cancer often include blood in the urine, pain, and changes in bladder habits. Many times these symptoms are due to less serious causes, but it’s a good idea to be checked by a doctor.
Self-exams of your mouth and regular dental screenings, especially for smokers or heavy drinkers, can help detect white patches, sores or lumps which could be signs of cancer.
Testicular Cancer (men only)
Some doctors recommend that men do monthly self-exams of the testicles to look for lumps or changes in size. Most doctors also recommend that a testicular exam be included in routine checkups.
Kidney and Liver Cancer
Talk to your doctor to see if you have a higher than average risk for these diseases, in which case certain screening tests may be recommended.
1 Preventative Cancer Screenings During COVID-19 Pandemic, May 1, 2020, https://www.ehrn.org/wp-content/uploads/Preventive-Cancer-Screenings-during-COVID-19-Pandemic.pdf