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What are important exams for women?
For women, we know that the most important screening exams are going to be your annual Pap smear exams to detect cervical cancer. There are going to be the annual mammograms to prevent breast cancer or find breast cancer at an early stage. And having a colonoscopy after the age of 50. We do recommend colonoscopies at an earlier age if there’s been colon cancer in a young family member or a young relative. But those are the three cancer tests or screening exams that we recommend for women.
What about important tests for men?
For men, the 3 cancer exams that we recommend are having a rectal exam or a prostate check annually after the age of 50. Having a colonoscopy after the age of 50. Again, as in women, we recommend for the men to have their colonoscopies at an earlier age if there is familial history of colon cancer. And we also encourage men to be aware of their bodies. And if they notice changes on a testicular exam then they should bring that to the attention of their physician. Testicular cancer usually happens at a young age, between the ages of 15 and 25, but we do see another peak of testicular cancer between the ages of 50 and 60.
What about for young children or young adults?
The most important thing that I encourage my patients is that they need to have an open line of communication with their parents so that if they do notice a bump or a pain, that they need to let their parents be aware of it so they take them to be evaluated. We know that we talk a lot about instilling our young daughters to perform breast exams, but we also need remember our young sons in instilling them in doing a testicular exam and for them not to be shy about mentioning something to their parents if they notice an abnormality or a change.
What else should we know about cancer tests?
The top cancer tests that need to be done are mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears for our women and colonoscopies, prostate exams and testicular exams for our men. The most important thing to remember, however, is going for your annual checkups with your physician and discussing with your physician any changes that you might be noticing in your body.
Find a San Diego Oncologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.