As a woman, you may already know that you have unique healthcare needs that differ from your male-bodied counterparts, including cancer awareness and screenings. Here are some of the top things every woman should know about cancer.
Stay Up to Date on Cancer Screenings
Remembering to stay on top of your cancer screenings, from pap tests for cervical cancer to colonoscopies when you turn 45, can be difficult and may not seem all that important. Other health issues that are more time-sensitive, such as an acute illness or seeking an abortion Danville Illinois, can take precedent over preventive services. However, cancer screenings should remain important as early detection of any cancer can give you a better treatment outcome. Speak with your doctor if you are uncertain about what ages you should be starting recommended cancer screenings, as they vary depending on the test and your medical history. Many doctor’s offices will send reminders when you are due for your next screening, so be sure to schedule your appointments when you receive those.
Seek Out Prevention Steps You Can Take
While prevention can’t catch and stop every cancer from forming, there are many steps you can to mitigate your risk of getting cancer. These steps can include quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet and making sure to incorporate exercise into your daily life. Some cancers, like cervical cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), have a vaccine that can help prevent you from getting cancer if you are exposed to the virus. There are also many steps you can take to prevent skin cancer, including avoiding tanning beds and wearing sunscreen every day. By using mitigation tactics in tandem with regularly scheduled screenings, you may be able to help keep your body cancer-free. While you could still potentially get sick with cancer while leading a healthy, low-risk lifestyle, the odds are much less likely.
Consider Genetic Testing If Cancer Runs In Your Family
Some cancers, like breast cancer and Lynch Syndrome, can run in families, which means that sharing your family medical history, if available, with your doctor is very important. While knowing your family’s cancer history isn’t always possible, such as in cases of adoption or loss of family, many times you will be able to have an idea of family members who have had cancer. Your doctor may recommend genetic testing to search for markers of familial cancer risks, looking for genes including the BRCA breast cancer gene that can mean a high likelihood of getting cancer in the future. There are some ethical concerns when it comes to any genetic testing, so be sure to ask questions and seek out your own answers. While it can be scary, knowing your genetic risk could help you take more radical prevention steps, such as a prophylactic mastectomy.
Cancer diagnoses are life-altering test results that can be scary for everyone involved. Still, you can take steps as a woman to prevent cancer or detect it early for the best possible treatment outcome.