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Cancer Screenings

Deaths from the major types of cancer have declined in recent years, primarily because more people are being screened.          

Cancer deaths are declining, yet many more lives could be saved if more people took advantage of the various cancer screenings offered.  Finding cancers in an early stage improves the likelihood of successful treatment, says Dr. Christopher Gleason, associate professor of family and community medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  He explains the most important cancer screenings.

SOUND BITE:  “The most common and important cancer screenings would be number one cervical cancer screening.  That would be with a Pap smear.  Number two is breast cancer screening with mammography.  Number three would be colon cancer screening with either colonoscopy or hemmocult testing.  Fourth, cancer screening for men would be prostate cancer with a PSA blood test.Dr.

Gleason says women should start getting Pap smear or Pap test screenings when they become sexually active.  Mammograms should begin at age 40 or 50.  Both men and women should be screened for colon cancer at age 50.  He says screenings need to be repeated at various intervals.

SOUND BITE:   “For breast cancer screening, mammography should occur every one to two years.  For cervical cancer screening, we generally do a Pap smear every one to three years.  For colon cancer screening, colonoscopy is offered every ten years if you have had a normal colonoscopy. ”

Dr. Gleason encourages people to take advantage of screening opportunities through their personal physicians or community programs offered by county health departments or local hospitals. 

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.