There are particular cancer screening tests that are important for women. Each are highly effective and recommended for all females, although some tests are only performed at certain ages. Learn what you should get, and when you should get it, so you can take a more active role in your health care.
Pap Smear for Cervical CancerA Pap smear is a highly effective test that screens for cervical cancer in women. The test involves the collecting of cells from the cervix to be examined under a microscope. It is not a diagnostic test, however. That means that if any abnormalities are discovered, more testing will be needed to make a formal diagnosis.
Pelvic Exam for Gynecologic CancersA regular pelvic exam is necessary for all women. A pelvic exam is one of the first steps in diagnosing several conditions such as gynecologic cancers and sexually transmitted diseases. How often a woman needs a pelvic exam varies depending on her risk factors for certain conditions and previous exam findings. A pelvic exam is often accompanied by the Pap smear.
Mammogram for Breast CancerWomen who are over 40 or at high risk for developing breast cancer need to have a regular mammogram. A screening mammogram is able to detect breast abnormalities that could signal breast cancer. Aside from regular mammograms, women of all ages should perform monthly breast self exams to check for abnormalities.
Colonoscopy or Other Recommended Colon Cancer Screening TestSeveral tests are available to screen for colon cancer. Your doctor will recommend a colon cancer screening test based on your colon cancer risk factors, age and general health. Common examples of colon cancer screening tests include colonoscopy and fecal occult blood tests.
Colon cancer screening normally begins for men and women who are over 50. However, those who are at an increased risk for the disease may begin screening earlier.