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Who Needs Cancer Testing?

by Editorial Team May 6th, 2015 | Aging Well
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Every year many of us attend our annual wellness exams. Our doctors look us over from top to bottom and determine whether or not we are in good health, and we often question them to see if there is anything we need to include in our daily regimens to increase our likelihood of longevity. However, while we have our annual check-ups, we often avoid asking about our need to be tested for cancer.

For many of us, cancer is a four-letter word, and we often want to avoid talking about it for fear that we ourselves may be diagnosed. However, we need to talk to our doctors about cancer as it is the second leading killer in the United States. By being properly tested for cancer you can dramatically increase the likelihood of survival should you be diagnosed, and those who should get testing include those:

With a Family History

Because our genes are passed down generation after generation, those of us with a family history of cancer are more prone to being diagnosed with cancer. If cancer is prevalent in your family, you should have a diagnostic cancer test to determine if you are at risk. These types of tests will typically look for gene mutations that could lead to cancer, and can help you spot these mutations well in advance so that you can acquire the right treatment for you.

Who Received a Concerning Clinical Exam

If you find a lump during a self breast exam or notice a lump on your testicles, it might be time for you to see your physician. While lumps in breasts or testicles can be harmless, they can also be warning signs of testicular or breast cancer. If your physician is concerned about the lumps found on your body, he or she may recommend having further diagnostic cancer tests.

Who Are Current or Former Smokers

If you used to smoke or are currently a smoker, having a diagnostic cancer test is a good idea. Smoking is known to cause several types of cancer, and even former smokers may be susceptible. Lung cancer is one of the most common fatal cancer types; however, if caught in the early stages, can have a high survival rate.

Individuals who were or are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke should also consider having exams to ensure that they do not develop lung cancer, lymphoma, or other cancers associated with cigarette smoke exposure.

Were Diagnosed with HPV

HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to genital warts or cervical cancer if left untreated. While wart outbreaks can be treated and managed with medications, cervical cancer can require more intrusive treatments. Women suffering from cervical cancer may be required to undergo chemotherapy or even a hysterectomy depending on the severity of their cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with HPV, consider having a HPV HR test. These types of tests determine whether or not you have either a high or low risk form of HPV by looking for one of the thirteen high risk phenotypes that typically lead to cervical cancer. A HPV HR test only requires a urine sample, and can provide a wealth of information about the treatment you may or may not need in the future.

Exposed to Various Chemicals

If you were exposed to asbestos or other cancer causing chemicals often found in construction sites and navy yards, you should have a diagnostic cancer test. These fields of work often come with silent hazards due to the various amounts of chemicals that workers are exposed to. Being properly tested can let you know if you have any abnormal cells that may turn into lung cancer, lymphoma, or even mesothelioma.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.