Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In the past decade, however, the death rates due to cancer have gone down considerably. According to data from the CDC, from 2001 to 2020, the death rates from cancer declined from 196.5 to 144.1 per 100,000. This is good news. This decline is due in large part to widespread awareness and education but also consistent cancer screenings that catch cases early.
Cancer screenings are an important part of women’s health. Let’s dive into some of the numbers and specifics.
If you want to learn more about yearly cancer screenings for women in El Paso, give us a call.
What Types of Cancer Screenings are There?
In the United States, the most common types of cancers include lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and breast cancer. Today, there are reliable cancer screenings that help to detect problems early, which makes treatment less aggressive and more successful.
People can get cancer screenings for:
- Lung cancer: The best shot at beating lung cancer is early detection. This screening begins with at-risk people (mostly smokers) or those that are between the ages of 50 and 80. In many cases, however, lung cancer does not exhibit any symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage. This is why screening can be essential for people at high risk. Lung cancer screening can involve chest x-rays or a helical CT scan.
- Colorectal cancer: Colonoscopy is the most common way to detect and screen for colon cancer. Abnormalities help physicians determine whether someone is at high risk or has developed early stages of colon cancer. The first colonoscopy is typically recommended at (or around) age 45 or before if a person suspects they are at high risk.
- Breast cancer: When a woman turns forty, the risk for breast cancer also increases. Regular mammograms help detect breast cancer early. Today, physicians might recommend a yearly breast screening every year or every other year.
- Cervical Cancer Screening: Routine gynecological exams play an important role in screening for cervical cancer. This screening is also called the pap test or pap smear, and it looks for any irregular cells that can occur after an HPV infection. In some rare instances, HPV infection can lead to cancer. When tests reveal abnormal cells, it allows for early treatment of those cells before they become cancerous. The medical community recommends that these tests begin around age 21 and continue until age 65.
Women’s Healthcare: The Importance of Cancer Screenings
According to the same CDC data, in the year 2020, 42, 275 females passed away from breast cancer. Cancer.org predicted that about 4,280 women will die from cervical cancer in the year 2022. Yet, cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed more often than invasive cervical cancer.
When the pap test came into existence, the rates of cervical cancer dropped considerably for women. This screening began around 1928 and was much more clearly understood and used by 1941. Since that time, it has been used as a necessary tool worldwide.
A Brief History of the Pap Test
Goerge Nichola Papanicolaou, a pioneer of human physiology, developed the early screening. George Papanicolau was from Greece and worked part of his career as an assistant surgeon in the military before working with leprosy patients in the outskirts of his hometown of Kimi. This experience served him well as he continued his studies in Germany and received a Ph.D. in zoology. Eventually, he and his wife emigrated to the United States in search of better career opportunities.
He and his wife arrived in the United States with $250 in their pockets and without any English language proficiency. They both worked odd jobs until Papanicolau could establish himself in a medical position. Eventually, he began research on the study of cells of the human reproductive system. In 1943, Papanicolau along with his collaborator published the first publication dealing with the diagnosis of uterine cancer. The research and procedure outlined in this book would lead to what is now the gold standard of cancer screenings for women.
Women’s Health Matters
Here at Transmountain Primary, we provide regular checkups and screenings for adults. Part of our services includes women’s health services. Our primary care center offers comprehensive screenings for our patients including HPV testing, cervical cancer screenings, and breast cancer screenings.
Want to learn more about our women’s services in El Paso? Call Transmountain Primary today.