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If you have hit 40 and are perfectly doing well, you might feel there s no need to go for regular health check-ups. But every year you blow a candle and cut a cake, you should gift yourself a cancer screening package. Why? Because, an annual health check-ups can help you prevent and diagnose various diseases in its initial stage.
Dr Rishma Dhillon Pai in her book FIT AT 40 reveals that the symptoms of most diseases are often not clear or ignored till they turn into a full-blown disease. And the only way to detect them early is through annual health check-ups.
If you have a family history of cancer, annual screening of cancer is mandatory after your turn 40 (although once in two years is recommended once you turn 30). The common tests are
Pap smear/HPV test: This test helps in the early diagnosis of cervical cancer. Every woman above 21 years (especially those at risk) should get a pap smear done to test for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). If the test results are negative, the test can be done once every 3 years till they reach 40 and every year after once you cross 40.
Mammogram: It is done to detect breast cancer and every woman should get it done every year after 40. Because, the risk of breast cancer increase with age and diagnosis at the initial stage helps in the proper treatment of cancer.
Colonoscopy: This test helps in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer even before the symptoms start to appear and in 90% of cases, it is curable. So get a colonoscopy done once you reach 40. And if you have a family history of the same, say your sibling or father was diagnosed at 45 then you should get tested at 35 (before 10 years).
CA125 test: The blood levels of CA-125 (Cancer Antigen-125), a tumour marker, are raised in the case of ovarian cancer. It is a blood test that helps in early detection of ovarian cancer.
Prolactin hormone: The high blood levels of prolactin hormone in the blood indicate various health conditions like infertility, liver disease and hypothyroidism. And hence, it is important to get this test done on a yearly basis once you cross 40.
Abdominal and pelvic sonography: In most cases, women often ignore stomach ache and pain in the pelvic region. But getting an abdominal or pelvic sonography might help detect cancer at an initial stage.
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