We don’t think about cancer screenings when we feel healthy. But even if you are, you should still see a doctor regularly to make sure you stay that way. According to the Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University, that also includes regular cancer screenings, which can help find cancer well before you experience any symptoms. Here’s a quick guide:
If you’re over age 50, your health care provider may recommend one of several tests every few years, from a colonoscopy to a double contrast barium enema. You can start by identifying your colon cancer risk factors by taking this Healthy Colon Quiz.
Don’t skip those twice-a-year checkups. Your dentist will examine your mouth and tongue for signs of oral cancer, including sores, red or white patches, bleeding or loose teeth.
Screening tests include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and they’re usually performed together. The DRE is a physical exam, while the PSA test is a simple blood test. Screening usually starts at age 50, but ask your doctor to see if you should be tested. You can start by identifying your prostate cancer risk factors by taking this Healthy Prostate Quiz.
Starting at age 20, have your dermatologist or other provider check your skin every three years. You should also be checking your skin and existing moles for any changes.
Your healthcare provider may do an exam as part of a regular checkup, but you should also perform monthly self-exams starting at age 15 (testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in the teen years and the most common cancer for men ages 20 to 34). Your provider can explain in detail how to do them, but self-exams involve feeling each testicle for lumps, hardening, or enlargement.