Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Can a breast cancer checkup detect other kinds of cancer?"
Hi, doctor. I am a 40 year old woman, and I will have a breast cancer checkup later this month. Can this test detect other types of cancer as well like cervical?
Kudos to you for scheduling your primary care visits and screening tests for cancer! This is one of the most important things anyone can do to protect their health. To answer your specific question, your breast cancer screening test will probably involve a simple breast exam with your physician as well as a mammogram (special x-ray that looks at breast tissue). These tests will only help your doctor look for breast cancer. It will NOT screen for any other cancers. As you mention, there are other cancers for which screening can be very important to help detect the disease early enough to treat. The recommended screening for a woman of your age is as follows: - breast cancer screening: this involves seeing your regular doctor for an exam and scheduling a mammogram, as you have done. - cervical cancer: this involves seeing your regular doctor of GYN for an annual pelvic exam and Pap smear. The Pap smear is what is used to look for malignant cells coming from the cervi - colon cancer screening starting at age 50: unless you have a family history of colon cancer, the recommended screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy done every 10 years, starting at age 50 Although not a screening test, quitting smoking, limiting your exposure to alcohol, and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise patterns are also very important for minimizing your cancer risk.
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