RESOLVE to Make Cancer Screening a Priority

Note: The following article was written by Julianne W. Childs, DO, a board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist who practices with RCCA in Cape May Court House, NJ, and Marmora, NJ. The article appeared in the January 2022 issue of Mainland Living, and is republished with permission

For 2022, let’s resolve to stay active with cancer screenings! According to the American Cancer Society more than 1.9 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. The best way to protect ourselves from poor outcomes is detection in early stages when cancer can be cured.

LUNG CANCER

Lung cancer accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths, and is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. If you’ve smoked cigarettes for the equivalent of a pack a day for 20 years, talk to your physician about getting a Screening Low-Dose Chest CT scan. This could pick up small lung cancers, which can be removed by surgery before they have a chance to spread, saving your life!

BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer occurs in about 1 in 8 women in the United States. The risk increases with age. Getting a yearly mammogram after the age of 40 is one of the main reasons the five-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99% when diagnosed at an early stage! For high-risk individuals (strong family history, a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, or radiation therapy to the chest for another malignancy) starting annual mammograms at age 30 and alternating with an MRI is recommended.

Dr. Julianne W. Childs, board-certified medical oncologist, practicing with RCCA in Cape May Court House and Marmora, N.J.

COLON AND RECTAL CANCER

Colorectal cancer occurs in approximately 1 in 23 American men and 1 in 25 American women in their lifetime and there’s a 91% 5-year survival rate when diagnosed in its earliest stages. Screening colonoscopy should begin at age 45 (previously, the age recommended was 50). Start 10 years prior to the age your youngest family member was diagnosed with colon cancer (ie. If at age 40, you should get a colonoscopy at age 30, not age 45).

CERVICAL CANCER

When cervical cancers are diagnosed at early stages there is a 92% 5-year survival rate and 99% are related to HPV infection (high risk human papilloma virus infection.) Cervical cancer is diagnosed by gynecologic exams with primary HPV testing plus Pap smears for women between the ages of 25-65. Women who are eligible for the HPV vaccine should STILL undergo cervical cancer screening.

PROSTATE CANCER

1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Screening for prostate cancer in “higher risk” men with a strong family history, such as more than one first-degree relative with prostate cancer (e.g. a father and a brother or 2 brothers with prostate cancer) should begin at age 40 with prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood testing and digital rectal exam. African American men are also at higher risk and should start screening at age 45. Those at average risk should start at age 50.

SKIN CANCER

Yes, we all live at the Shore! Between 1 in 27 fair-skinned males and 1 in 49 fair-skinned females will get malignant melanoma in their lifetime. People of darker skin color can get melanoma as well. Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are also skin cancers that if ignored can spread (metastasize) becoming deadly just like melanoma. The good news is when detected early, the 5-year survival rate even for the more deadly of these, malignant melanoma, is about 99%. Practice frequent skin checks, avoid the sun between 10 AM and 2PM when the UV rays are strongest, wear hats and long sleeves during those times, as well as sunscreen SPF 30+ applied frequently!

Dr. Childs is among the 90 cancer specialists who treat patients at more than 25 RCCA care centers located throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC, area. RCCA oncologists and hematologists see more than 23,000 new patients each year and provide care to more than 225,000 established patients, collaborating closely with their patients’ other physicians. They offer patients the latest in cutting-edge treatments, including immunotherapies and targeted therapy, as well as access to a wide range of clinical trials. In addition to serving patients who have solid tumors, blood-based cancers, and benign blood disorders such as anemia, RCCA care centers also provide infusion services to people with a number of non-oncologic conditions—including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis—who take intravenously-administered medications.

To learn more about RCCA, call 844-928-0089 or visit RCCA.com.  

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