Screening Tests for Women Archive


Screening advice that's not just skin deep

Melanoma kills about 8,000 Americans each year. Most people are at low risk of melanoma and don't need annual skin cancer screenings. People should be screened each year if they have risk factors such as dozens of atypical moles, a family history of melanoma or atypical moles, an earlier skin cancer, certain genetic mutations or predisposition, immune-suppressing therapy after organ transplantation or for inflammatory bowel disease, a history of blistering sunburns, or substantial tanning bed use.

National task force proposes updated breast cancer screening recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released updated draft guidelines in May 2023 proposing that women at average risk of breast cancer be screened every other year starting at age 40.

How do I approach a new partner about STI testing?

Discussing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the start of a new relationship can protect both partners' health. Many STIs don't cause symptoms. Couples can test for STIs together or separately and share results before becoming intimate.

Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?

Screening tests, such as Pap smears or blood pressure checks, could save your life. But the benefits of screening tests tend to decline as we age. Learn about the limits of screening.

Cancer Network updates recommendations for breast cancer screening in younger women

New guidelines released in 2022 by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network advise women at average risk for breast cancer to begin undergoing annual mammograms at age 40. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that women and their doctors make a shared decision to start routine mammography before age 50.

Curbing the nation's deadliest cancer

Lung cancer kills about 130,000 Americans yearly, but only a tiny percentage of people eligible for low-dose CT lung cancer screening receive it. People qualify for lung cancer screening if they are 50 to 80 years old, have a substantial smoking history as measured in lifetime packs smoked, and currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years. Tens of thousands of lives might be saved each year if everyone who qualified underwent lung cancer screening, which can detect tumors when they are still small enough to be cured with surgery or radiation.

Women who undergo earlier screening less likely to develop colorectal cancer

A 2022 study found that women who begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45 with colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are far less likely to develop the disease than women who don't undergo any screening or who start screening at age 50.

What to do when a diagnosis is elusive

Medically unexplained symptoms, which are not easily deciphered account for many visits to primary care doctors and specialists. Individuals seeking answers should work with closely with their primary care doctors.  Strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help people manage stressors that affect physical health.

What type of breast screening do you need?

Mammograms are still the gold standard method for breast screening, but additional imaging tests can help detect cancers that might otherwise be missed in women with dense breasts or other breast cancer risk factors. Ultrasound is inexpensive but has a high false-positive rate if used alone. MRI is expensive but very accurate for tumor detection. Three-dimensional mammograms are highly accurate but have a 50% false-positive rate over a decade of yearly screening in women ages 40 to 79.

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