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Screening saves lives

Many U.S. adults aren’t getting screened, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Screening rates for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers either fell short of previous rates or showed no improvement:

Cervical cancer: 1 in 5 women aren’t up to date on screenings

Breast cancer: 1 in 4 women aren’t up to date on screenings

Colorectal cancer: 2 in 5 adults aren’t up to date on screenings

Screenings are important because they mean cancer can be caught in the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable and survival rates are best. What’s more, cervical and colorectal screenings can prevent cancer by finding and removing precancerous tissue.

It is important to remember that when your doctor suggests a screening test, it does not always mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Screening tests are done when you have no cancer symptoms.

There are different kinds of screening tests.

Screening tests include the following:

Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.

Laboratory tests: Medical procedures that test samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body.

Imaging procedures: Procedures that make pictures of areas inside the body.

Genetic tests: Tests that look for certain gene mutations (changes) that are linked to some types of cancer.

For the latest screening recommendations, visit the American Cancer Society and talk with your provider. He or she may recommend a different schedule based on your personal and family health history or other risk factors.