GPs and specialists play a pivotal role in ensuring that patients are regularly screened for different types of cancers. Here are some screening guidelines.
World Cancer Day was on 4th February. This initiative by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), will again focus its efforts in uniting the cancer community. The aim is to reduce the global cancer burden, promote equity and to integrate cancer control into the word health and development agenda.
Dr Lee-Ann Jones, a clinical and radiation oncologist at Cancercare, says that information is key to the prevention and early detection of cancer. Regular screenings, self-examinations and the adoption of a healthy and positive lifestyle are the givens. Early identification of the disease will inevitably increase the potential for recovery.
She advises that there are screening guidelines available for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer. While these can generally be categorised according to a person’s age, someone in their 40s and 50s will be at higher risk of cancer than someone in their 20s.
A colonoscopy every five to ten years is recommended from the age of 50, to prevent colorectal cancer.
Smokers should have a CT scan every year to screen for lung cancer. Smokers are at great risk, whether one currently smokes – or only stopped smoking in the past 15 years.
EIGHT STEPS TO REDUCE CANCER RISK
Remember to use every opportunity you get to address the following with your patients:
1. Don’t smoke
2. Limit alcohol consumption
3. Exercise regularly
4. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
5. Maintain a healthy weight
6. Protect your skin from the sun
7. Protect against sexually transmitted infections
8. Have regular screenings.