Hello out there!
I have been AWOL for a while...unfortunately, I lost my dearest, closest aunt to breast cancer. I hate cancer, with a passion.
I believe in order to fight back, we have to get screened, that is, for those cancer-causing ailments that we can now screen for. Early detection is very important!
If you are a female, it is important to know that at age 40, you should get a baseline screening mammogram of both breasts, and continue every year after. Don't forget your monthly breast exam! At 50, please get a colonoscopy, it screens for colon cancer, after that, get it done every ten years afterward. It is also good to know that once you are sexually active as a female, you have to get a Pap smear, this screens for cervical cancer - no matter how old you are. Some strains of HPV (human papillomavirus) cause cervical cancer. However, if you have not become sexually active, please start at an age that you are most comfortable with, preferably in your early 20s. It is important to know your family history, especially of both parents. If you have a parent with any cancer, please start screening for the same cancer approximately 10years before they were diagnosed.
I know that this might seem like a lot of information, but if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! You can ask me, or better yet, ask your PCM (Primary Care Manager/Primary Care Provider/Doctor/Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner). If you don't have one, go to a free clinic. If you don't know the closest one to you, google it.
I know that I'm talking from a U.S. perspective. There are some areas in the world that healthcare is not accessible. If this applies to you, send me some feedback, there can be someone or somewhere that i can refer you to.
Men, I have not forgotten about you! Just in case you're a male and just happen to stumble on this blog, I also have some pertinent info on screening for you. If you are of African descent or African American, get a baseline blood test for Prostate Cancer. It's called a PSA (prostate specific antigen), at the age of 40. If you are having problems with urination, groin pain, weight loss (without the intention of losing weight by exercising and dietary changes), please get a prostate exam. If your father or brother has had prostate issues or cancer, please let a healthcare professional know, you might need to get screened. Also, don't forget to get a colonoscopy at age 50, and then if normal, get it done very ten years afterward.
Well, that was a lot to take in! But, please follow through with this. Like I said earlier, "Prevention is better than cure".
Have a better day and a gorgeous week ahead!