How Preventive Cancer Screenings Can Save Money and Provide Peace of Mind
Between the holidays, the end of the school semester, and trying to get in last-minute medical appointments before your deductible resets, the end of the year is hectic for everyone. As you’re looking forward to next year, there’s one thing you need to add to your to-do list: Preventive medical care.
Preventive screenings are an important tool for the early detection of cancer when it is more likely to be successfully treated. American Health Imaging makes it easy to schedule screenings in advance, so you won’t have to worry about fitting them in at the last minute.
When do you need cancer screenings?
While not every type of cancer can be detected with preventive screening, several common types can. These screening tests can detect cancers early, or, in some cases, detect precancerous tumors that can be removed. According to the American Cancer Society, the screenings you need vary by age.
- In your 20s and 30s: Women should start cervical cancer screenings at 25. An HPV test is recommended every five years until age 65. People at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer or colon cancer should have discussions with their doctors about when to start screenings.
- In your 40s: Women have the choice to start annual screening mammograms for breast cancer between ages 40 and 44, and all women are advised to start by 45. Everyone should start colon cancer screenings at age 45. Men at higher risk for prostate cancer should talk to their doctors about starting screenings.
- In your 50s, 60s, and 70s: Women should continue annual mammograms until at least 54, when some women may choose to switch to biennial mammograms. Cervical cancer screenings can stop if someone’s previous decade of screenings returned normal results. Everyone should continue regular colon cancer screenings until 75. Current and former smokers ages 50 and older should get yearly lung cancer screenings if they meet certain criteria. Men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctors.
Advanced imaging makes a difference for annual screenings
Your primary care provider likely offers cervical cancer and prostate cancer screenings, which is one of many reasons why an annual wellness visit is a good idea. He or she can also refer you to a gastroenterologist when it’s time for colon cancer screenings. But you don’t need a primary care provider to refer you for a mammogram or lung cancer screening if you are at high or average risk and at the age to start screening.
You might think you don’t need an annual breast cancer screening if you don’t have symptoms of the disease, such as a lump felt during a breast self-exam. However, 1 in 8 women develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and many do not have risk factors such as a family history of the disease. If you’re a woman, getting screened for breast cancer every year once you reach age 45—or earlier if you are at high risk or at your provider’s recommendation—is the best way to evaluate tiny changes in your breast tissue, such as calcifications and asymmetries.
Scheduling your annual mammogram (a 3D mammogram or a breast MRI for some high-risk women) at the same time every year makes it easy to work around vacations, important work deadlines, and school trips. While a mammogram will only take half an hour at the most, booking it on your calendar now means you won’t forget this important screening.
Another type of vital screening, lung cancer screenings are low-dose CT scans that also take just a few minutes. They are recommended for current and former smokers ages 50 and older who have quit within 15 years and who also have a 20-pack-year smoking history. This means you smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for 20 years (or two packs a day for 10 years). AHI makes it easy to schedule CT screenings for lung cancer in advance, and our advanced imaging equipment helps to ensure you receive the clearest picture of your lungs possible.
Choose AHI for preventive screenings
American Health Imaging has dozens of locations and flexible hours, which means you can schedule your breast or lung cancer screening at a convenient place and time that works with your schedule, unlike most hospital systems. Our imaging specialists have expert training, so you know you can have confidence in our results. And if your preventive screening shows the need for follow-up diagnostic imaging or a second opinion, our cost-effective care ensures you’ll save money on any additional testing. Don’t put off scheduling your screenings for the new year. It’s easy to make an appointment today.
Request more information about an MRI scan, CT scan, or another imaging scan at American Health Imaging.