27 Jan 2016

Take the Time for Self-Exams

The American Cancer Society estimates that by the time 2015 comes to a close, there will be 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths. Cancer and other diseases can occur for any number of reasons including genetics, lifestyle, and exposure to harmful substances, but early detection can aid in a more successful treatment.

breast self-exams

Having a good relationship with a trusted physician can help keep many people healthy and proactive when it comes to paying attention to their health. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals fall victim to a delayed medical diagnosis and by the time a disease is properly diagnosed, treatment may be ineffective. One of the best ways to stay on top of your health, for men and women over 50, is by performing self exams and report any changes to a doctor.

The Importance of Self-Exams

Performing self-exams is a great and easy way to be in control of your health. If you don’t really “know” your body, now is the time to start. Remember, you will (and should) know your body better than anyone else. You can detect if something doesn’t feel right internally, such as a persistent pain, but you should also know what’s normal for your body externally. Many people are afraid to look or touch their own bodies, but it’s the only way you can successfully perform a self-exam.

Whether you’re taking a good look at moles and birthmarks or feeling your breasts for any unusual lumps, a self-exam can help your doctor make a more accurate diagnosis. Sometimes something that looks or feels “abnormal” can be nothing to worry about, other times it ends up being a symptom or sign of cancer or other diseases. In the end, you’ll be glad you double checked for the sake of your health.

Self-Exams for Women

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affects women. While medical professionals recommend mammograms for older women, breast self-exams are important for women (and men) of any age. With frequent exams, women will know what feels right and what doesn’t. Changes should always be shared with a physician, but remember, not every change is cause for alarm. Similarly, when analyzing your breast self-exam, don’t compare your breasts to family or friends; all breasts are different.

medical diagnosis

Doctors also recommend that women perform self-exams for skin cancer, eye and teeth health, and take note of any other changes observed.

Self-Exams for Men

Testicular cancer, compared with other types of cancer, is rare, but is the most common cancer for U.S. men ages 15-34. Early detection is integral is receiving appropriate treatment for testicular cancer. Just like breast self-exams, testicular self-exams are recommended at least once a month; any and all changes should be noted and shared with a physician. According to the Testicular Cancer Society, men over the age of 50 should consider the possibility of spermatocytic seminomas as it accounts for for up to 12% of all cases. Almost half of the cases occur in men over the age of 50.

Doctors also recommend that men perform self-exams for skin cancer, eye and teeth health, as well as breast cancer.

Taking the time to getting to know your body, the way it feels and looks like, can help prevent an otherwise hard to detect, potentially fatal disease.


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