Cancer : Preventive Cancer Screenings Can Save Your Life

No one wants to hear bad news, particularly if it's about their health.

If you don't have that check-up or follow through on those routine visits to the doctor, you won't risk hearing bad news -- but of course, you'll be risking much more.

In a report this week, health care experts voiced concern about a noticeable drop in people getting health screenings.

The American Cancer Society, along with cancer experts across the nation, have promoted preventive cancer screenings as a way to cut cancer death rates, especially for breast, colon and prostate cancer. However, in the last decade the number of people seeking those screenings has declined.

Chuck Reed, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, suggested that part of the reason is confusion.

"People aren't sure when to go in and get that first screening. I strongly urge everybody to visit the American Cancer Society website and get our recommendations for screenings, because I believe we have the best ones there," said Reed.

Another reason for the drop may be that people fear bad news, Reed said, but early detection means a better chance of a cure.

"We can help people if they just follow the advice we give, so if they do indeed find cancer, it's at an early stage. I'm more concerned about what's going to happen down the road, as far as finding cancers in more advanced stages," he said.

If you haven't had a mammography by age 40, you need to go in, Reed said, adding that if you haven't had a colonoscopy by age 50 you need to get one. Other recommendations on when to get early cancer screenings are online at

The decline in screenings could lead to cancers being discovered later when they are harder to treat. Reed stressed that people need to be proactive about their health.

If you insist on risking your life, take up sky diving or motocross cycle racing.

Don't risk your life by being an ostrich in the sand. Don't get lax about your health care.

Prevention is the key.

(c)2013 the Richmond County Daily Journal (Rockingham, N.C.)

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