Meadville Tribune

Our Health

October 23, 2013

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS: Early detection is key — here's how

MEADVILLE — Early detection of cancer greatly increases a person’s odds of surviving this potentially deadly disease. Screening can range from relatively simple self-examinations to more complicated procedures conducted by physicians. The following are the widely accepted screening guidelines, courtesy of the American Cancer Society.

Breast cancer

Women should begin self-examinations of their breasts starting in their 20s. This helps women familiarize themselves with their breasts early on, which makes it easier to detect any abnormalities, including lumps, later in life.

In addition to breast self-exams, women should receive clinical breast exams, or CBEs, every three years while in their 20s and 30s, and then an annual CBE starting at age 40. The ACS also recommends women begin receiving annual mammograms starting at age 40. Some doctors may also recommend women with a family history of breast cancer or other significant risk factors receive an MRI in addition to a mammogram. These additional tests are rarely necessary, but women at a higher risk of breast cancer should discuss their options with their physicians.

Colorectal cancer and polyps

Men and women should begin screening for colorectal cancer and polyps beginning at age 50. Polyps are growths on the inner surface of the colon that are often noncancerous, but some can develop into cancer.

Some tests may be conducted to find both polyps and cancer, and these tests should be conducted at various intervals. Beginning at age 50, men and women should get a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, a colonoscopy every 10 years, a double-contrast barium enema every five years, or a CT colonography, also known as a virtual colonoscopy, every five years. When tests other than a colonoscopy are positive, then a colonoscopy should be conducted as well.

Testing can also be conducted to detect colorectal cancer. Beginning at age 50, men and women should receive an annual fecal occult blood test or a yearly fecal immunochemical test. When results are positive, a colonoscopy should be conducted.

Text Only
Our Health
  • Prescription for Medical Nutrition Therapy

    Nutrition is a vital part of being well, and an even more important part to getting well (or healing). It’s a critical part of prevention, yet if I surveyed physicians or lay people, and asked them “Does diet therapy work?” chances are at least 70 percent of them would say “No.”

    April 21, 2014

  • Is getting your daily ‘shot’ of caffeine OK?

    Can’t live without your daily dose of caffeine? I know many people who will go out of the way just to grab a fresh cup of Joe or any caffeine shot to jump start their day or combat that afternoon lull.

    March 17, 2014

  • How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness

    When a mysterious disease fells people - as happened in California recently, with as many as 20 children experiencing unexplained paralysis - teams of physicians and epidemiologists quickly mobilize. Perhaps you saw the movie "Contagion"? The idea is to find the culprit before it spreads but also to prevent public panic.

    March 12, 2014

  • Enjoy the taste of eating right

    It’s National Nutrition Month, and I really love this year’s theme: “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

    March 11, 2014

  • ERIC-HOLDER.jpg Holder: Heroin deaths an 'urgent and growing public health crisis'

    Attorney General Eric Holder, calling the rise in deaths from overdoses of heroin and prescription painkillers an "urgent and growing public health crisis," is outlining a series of efforts by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic.

    March 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lilly's diabetes drug rejected by FDA

    A diabetes pill developed by Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim was rejected by U.S. regulators because of previously disclosed manufacturing deficiencies at a German plant that hadn't been resolved.

    March 5, 2014

  • Study says too much protein could lead to early death

    Even as researchers warned of the health risks of high-protein diets in middle age, they said eating more protein actually could be a smart move for people over 65.

    March 4, 2014

  • Do flu shots cause runny noses?

    The vaccine used in the study is similar to FluMist, of which 13 million doses were distributed in the United States this year. The work helps explain why runny noses were an occasional aftereffect of FluMist in clinical trials.

    March 4, 2014

  • Trying to lose weight? Reach for the nearest calico cat

    Interesting studies have discovered that cats may actually help us with weight loss.

    March 3, 2014

  • Six reasons childhood obesity has fallen so much

    A major new paper appearing in Wednesday's edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that childhood obesity - age 2 to 5 - has fallen from 13.9 percent in 2003-04 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12.

    February 26, 2014