If there’s a lesson to be learned from country music star Joey Feek’s recent diagnosis of stage IV cervical cancer – she is hoping to live through the holidays, according to People magazine – it is that early cancer diagnosis is vital.
Although Feek is one of 4,000 women whose cancer diagnosis is tragically deemed fatal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 93 percent of such cancers could be prevented by screening and vaccination. The real tragedy is that an estimated 40 percent of such deaths may be preventable.
The best way to help yourself if you’re 20 or older is to live a healthy lifestyle and have regular health exams. Depending on age, gender and other variables, physicians may specifically screen for oral, skin and other abnormalities.
The question to many, though, is what cancers should they be most concerned with and seek professional screening for? The National Cancer Institute lists the most prevalent forms of cancer and the screenings that detect them.
When you devise your annual year-end list of resolutions, don’t forget to add these simple – and life-saving – tests to your checklist:
Breast cancer – In 2015, the American Cancer Society estimated there were 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,290 additional cases of in situ breast cancer (generally in the milk ducts). Men, about 2,350 each year, are also diagnosed with breast cancer. Although the number of diagnoses is significantly less than for women, men’s survival rates are lower; 74 percent of men survive versus 83 percent of women. Screening: Self exams and clinical breast exams and mammography are recommended for all women. Such screenings are recommended for men with strong family histories of breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen website. (please put the before Susan)
Prostate cancer – There are 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed annually. The cancer, affecting one in seven men sometime in their lifetimes, is the second most common cancer in American men after skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The most recent available date showed the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent, with the 10-year survival rate at 99 percent. The 15-year rate is about 94 percent. Screening: Physicians and other medical professionals perform digital rectal exams and blood tests to screen for this cancer.
Lung cancer – More men and women in the United State die of lung cancer than any other cancer. The most recent statistics available from the Centers for Disease Control report 210,828 new cases (111,395 men and 99,433 women) diagnosed each year. Sadly, 157,423 of those with lung cancer (86,689 men and 70,734 women) die each year. Smoking is blamed for a majority, 85 percent, of lung cancer diagnoses but not all. Screening: Low-dose CT scans are the most accurate method to identify early stage cancer, according to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Colon and rectal cancer (combined) – There will be an estimated 132,700 new cases of colon and rectal cancer diagnoses each year, says the National Cancer Institute. About 4.5 percent of men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with one of those diseases each year. Although colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death when rates for both sexes are combined – it is expected to causes fewer than 50,000 deaths in 2015 – the death rate has declined. Screening: Standard colonoscopies and other screenings conducted by physicians have significantly decreased the death rate for colorectal cancer. More than one million survivors of this cancer are now alive in the United States.
Bladder cancer – Although 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer (about 56,300 in men and 17,680 for women) are diagnosed each year, the rates of new cancer deaths have dropped slightly due to screening. Each year there are about 16,000 U.S. deaths from bladder cancer (11,510 for men and 4,490 for women). There are more than half a million bladder cancer survivors in the U.S. Screening: There is no specific screening for bladder cancer, which is usually discovered because of testing for blood in the urine and other irregularities.