Cancer Screening Tests for Women

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 19, 2011

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woman ready for x-ray

Cancer is becoming more common by the day

Cases of cervical cancer, breast cancer, and other gynaecological cancers are only increasing every day. The most effective form of treatment of diseases like cancer is early detection in order to maximise the chances of recovery. Thus, doctors recommend that periodic tests and screening be conducted regularly to check for and hence catch early any signs of diseases that have the potential for turning out to be life threatening at a later stage.


The first of the various screenings that are important for women is the mammogram. Dr. Lona Mohapatra of Rockland Hospital, New Delhi, advises all women to get their breasts examined annually from the age of 35. Statistics reveal that breast cancer incidence in women has increased from one in 20 in 1960 to one in eight in 2008. According to the American Cancer Society, women in their twenties should have a clinical breast exam (or CBE) as part of their regular health exam by a health professional preferably every three years and after 35, every year.


Another important screening test is the Pap smear for detection of cervical cancer. Says Dr. Mohapatra, “A Pap smear test and a breast examination should be mandatory of the annual health charts of women. With the cases of cancer only increasing all across the country, early detection is the best possible cure.” It is highly recommended that women should have a Pap test beginning about 3 years after they begin to have sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21. Having a Pap smear test once every three years until the age of 35 is okay.


To screen for other cancers, a pelvic exam is also highly recommended. An annual pelvic exam can go a long way in detection of cancers and the early treatment of them. During a pelvic exam, the doctor examines the vagina, cervix and uterus of a woman. Women should begin having within a few years of their first sexual intercourse, or at age 21, and continue to have the exam annually.


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