Cancer Screenings: Who Should I Listen To?

black doctor looking at xrayFor many years, medical experts have been urging Americans to seek regular and timely screenings for a variety of cancers, including cancers of the prostate, colon, cervix, and breasts. Now, many experts are publicly contradicting the generally accepted axiom, concluding that more testing is not necessarily useful, cost effective, or indicative of better outcomes.

What Is Usually Recommended?

To date, most doctors and researchers have recommended certain screening tests on a regular basis, although there are differences in the details of these recommendations:

• PAP smears have long been the gold standard for the early detection of cervical cancer.

• Mammograms are often recommended every two years for women over 50, and only for women under 50 who have particular risk factors. Meanwhile, others recommend mammograms for any women over 35, but opinions differ based on the organization.