Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer screening tests detect cancerous cells and growths, or polyps, that may become cancerous on the inside wall of the colon. Not everyone needs to be tested for colon cancer, though; the need depends on individual risk level. Three major factors influence the risk for colon cancer:
Age 50 or older
A family or personal history of colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps
A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
If you have these higher risk factors for developing colon cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests talking with your doctor about screenings.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in American men. As men age, their risk of prostate cancer increases. The ACS suggests that men age 50 and older speak to their doctor about prostate screenings. Consider initiating this talk at an earlier age if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of tumor in American men between the ages of 15 and 35. For this reason, all men should receive a testicular examination every time they have a physical exam. In addition, men of all ages, beginning in their teens, should perform a monthly self-examination of their testicles. Testicular exams should check for any masses, as well as changes in size, shape or consistency. For more information about how to do a proper self-exam, visit the Testicular Cancer Resource Center at thetcrc.org/tcexam.
The American Dental Association recommends regular dental checkups in which the dentist examines the teeth and gums. In addition, the dentist can evaluate bite and determine problems such as teeth grinding or issues with the jaw joint.
Eye examinations can determine a need for glasses or contact lenses or a need for a changed prescription. They can also identify new vision problems. Common vision problems detected by regular eye exams include glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.
A hearing test determines potential hearing loss. The American Speech Language Hearing Association recommends screening at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years thereafter. Ask your doctor how often you should have your hearing checked.
To check for skin cancer, the doctor will examine your skin from head to toe, looking for moles that are irregularly shaped, have varied colors, are asymmetric, are greater than the size of a pencil eraser, or have grown or changed since your last visit. Talk to your doctor about getting a skin exam during your regular checkup, and also perform routine self-exams, looking for any spots or moles that fit the above characteristics.