Cancer Screening and Prevention 

Photo credit: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/screening/screening-tests
Photo credit: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/screening/screening-tests

Cancer rates are on the rise for young people in the United States, it is time to know the signs. Skin cancer and breast cancer are the most common cancers in women. 

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

Risk Factors:

  • Getting older. The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Genetic mutations
  • Having dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer
  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Previous treatment using radiation therapy
  • Exposure to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)

Skin Cancer

If you have any signs or symptoms or have risk factors please be sure to visit your doctor to be screened. 

Resources in Southwest Philadelphia: 

For melanoma specifically, a simple way to remember the warning signs is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma—

  • Asymmetrical: Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • Border: Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • Color: Is the color uneven?
  • Diameter: Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • Evolving: Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

Risk Factors:

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Blond or red hair.
  • Certain types and a large number of moles.
  • A family history of skin cancer.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • Older age.

Colon Cancer 

Colon Cancer is on the rise among men and women.

If you have symptoms, they may include—

  • A change in bowel habits.
  • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.
  • Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
  • Weight loss and you don’t know why.
  • If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.

Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Other risk factors include having—

  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
  • A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome).

Lifestyle factors that may contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer include—

  • Lack of regular physical activity.
  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables.
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet, or a diet high in processed meats.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • Tobacco use.

Regular screening, beginning at age 45, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer and finding it early but if you have symptoms or risk factors you should talk to your doctor about being screened earlier.

If you need a Primary Care Provider you can visit Health Annex. Your doctor can refer you to the screenings that are right for you.

6120-B Woodland Ave (Woodland Village Plaza)

Philadelphia, PA 19142

215-727-4721

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