Secure Peace of Mind with Cancer Screenings
Public health has been a top-of-mind concern for everyone the last couple years, and rightfully so. But while the public turned its collective focus on COVID-19, more routine actions like checkups and health screenings were pushed to the back burner. Unfortunately, this can allow small complications to grow into more serious problems with potentially life-threatening consequences.
Knowing is always better than assuming. This National Cancer Prevention Month, learn how various health screenings can help reduce your risk of cancer.
Why are screenings important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease. However, about 30-50% of cancer deaths can be prevented with certain lifestyle changes, including:
- Avoiding or quitting smoking
- Avoiding environmental carcinogens
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Scheduling regular screenings and vaccinations
Early detection — i.e., regular health screenings and checkups — is paramount to preventing cancer deaths, the CDC reports. For example, mammography’s alone can reduce breast cancer deaths by more than 40%. Experts estimate more than 10,000 breast cancer deaths, 27,000 cervical cancer deaths, and 74,000 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if current screening levels are maintained.
Types of cancer screenings
Of course, cancer can manifest in many different forms, such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and more. Naturally, physicians will employ several different methods to detect various types of cancer. Tests available at Culbertson Memorial Hospital include the following:
- 3D mammography — A 3D mammography offers an unparalleled view of the breast tissue and allows physicians to detect cancerous tumors before they can be felt by human hands. Remember: A mammography is your best line of defense against breast cancer, promising a five-year survival rate of 100% if the cancer is detected early.
- Blood test — Various blood tests available through the Laboratory Services at Culbertson Memorial Hospital can be used to detect various forms of cancer. For example, alpha-fetoprotein tests can be used to detect liver cancer while complete blood count (CBC) can be used to diagnose leukemia. Additionally, occult blood screening — i.e., the process of detecting blood in stool — can help diagnose colorectal cancers.
- Colonoscopy — During this easy, painless procedure, the patient is sedated while a doctor uses a flexible, lighted tube with an attached camera — called a colonoscope — to examine the colon and rectum. Capable of detecting and removing colorectal polyps early on, a colonoscopy can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer death by up to 90%. Colonoscopies are available at Culbertson through our Surgical Department and are performed by Dr. Harsha Polavarupa and Dr. John Bozdech.
- GYN screening — Regular gynecology screenings — including pap smears and HPV tests — from Dr. Ada Kagumba at the Culbertson Outpatient Specialty Clinic [LINK TO: https://cmhospital.com/our-providers/outpatient-specialty-clinics] can also reduce the risk of cervical cancer in women.
- Prostate exam — Dr. Matthew Knudson at the Culbertson Outpatient Specialty Clinic may provide one of two prostate exams for men experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer [LINK TO: https://cmhospital.com/blog?rec_id=130] or an enlarged prostate. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test may be ordered to detect PSA levels in the bloodstream. Additionally, a digital rectal exam (DRE) may be used to detected bumps or hard areas on the prostate and can be effective for men with normal PSA levels.