Everyday Health - "What You Must Know Now About Cancer Screening"

 – January 21, 2014  –– 

One of the reasons for the decrease in cancer death rates is advances in screening technology that have made it easier to detect cancer at an early stage, when it’s most likely to be curable. Imaging can detect irregular cells that won’t turn into cancer or pose no long-term danger. Colonoscopies are typically recommended for healthy people between 50 and 75 years of age, though older patients’ doctors may still advise having it done. “The cutoff age depends on what’s going on with the person and is more nuanced than it looks,” said Randall Holcombe, MD, Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Secondly, more than half the men surveyed for a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine decided to get the PSA test, in spite of the uncertainty. “Over the last several decades we are finding cancers early, but it’s also true that not every abnormal test result needs treatment,” said Ashutosh K. Tewari, MB, BS, Chairman of the Milton and Carroll Petrie Department of Urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In regards to ovarian cancer, once it has spread from the ovaries to the pelvis and abdomen, the prognosis for treatment is very poor. “The problem is, as of today, there’s no effective tool for screening the general population for ovarian cancer,” said David Fishman, MD, Director of the National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program, and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital. The guidelines for breast cancer screening have changed many times over the years, and not all organizations agree on when women should start getting screened regularly. According to Elisa Port, MD, Chief of Breast Surgery, and Co-Director of the Dubin Breast Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital, “the risk of dying from breast cancer when you do annual mammograms decreases by 15 percent.” Learn more