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How to Tell Which Cancer Screenings You Really Need

Just because a test exists doesn’t mean you’d benefit from it. Here’s how to tell which cancer screenings make sense for you.

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cancer screening breast cancerPhoto: Shutterstock

Breast Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recommends that women get mammograms every year, but not until age 45. You may need to start breast cancer screenings earlier if you have a family history or genetic mutations that hinder the function of genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which repair damaged DNA and help suppress tumours.

Find out how to reduce your breast cancer risk.

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cancer screening colonPhoto: Shutterstock

Colon Cancer Screening

You probably don’t need a colonoscopy or other colon cancer screening tests until you’re 50, unless you have a parent, sibling, or child who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps before age 60.

Learn to spot the telltale colon cancer symptoms.

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cancer screening lungPhoto: Shutterstock

Lung Cancer Screening

Unless you smoke or quit less than 15 years ago and you are between the ages of 55 and 80, you likely don’t need a lung cancer screening. These are the signs of lung cancer you might be ignoring.

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cancer-screening-prostatePhoto: Shutterstock

Prostate Cancer Screening

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises men 70 and older to skip the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test entirely, but men ages 55 to 69 should decide for themselves. (Prostate cancer is slow growing, and treatment can affect quality of life.) But if you are African American or if you have a father, brother, or son who had prostate cancer before age 65, or if you detect any of these signs of prostate cancer, discuss screening with your doctor starting at age 45.

Next, check out 50 rampant cancer myths doctors wish you’d stop believing.

Originally Published in Readers Digest International Edition