Do you need a cancer screening? - KMSP-TV

FOX Medical Team

Do you need a cancer screening?

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

Catching cancer early, while it's still treatable, can make a critical difference. But, how do you know which cancer screenings you need, and which to skip, when the recommendations are changing all the time?

It would be great if we had a blood test that could tell us "yes" or "no." But, we don't. There are a handful of tests, and some of them are not that precise. So, it's important to know which test is right for you and when you should be getting screened.

John Cutter is one of those rare guys who actually goes to the doctor. Two years ago it paid off when a routine blood test, called a PSA, spotted a problem with Cutter's prostate gland.
    
"I had a very aggressive form of cancer.  Another six months could have made a lot of difference in what the ultimate results were," said Cutter.

At Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Shafiq Khan says doctors have two ways to spot prostate cancer:  a physical exam, such as a PSA.
 
"But you need further tests to find out if you have cancer or not, and even if you have cancer, you don't if it is slow growing or if it's a fast-growing cancer," said Khan.

Critics say men with high PSAs are being given treatments they don't need, leading to incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

But at Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia, medical director Dr. Frank Critz, says telling men not to get tested isn't the answer.

"I get a PSA test every year, on my annual physical exam, and I don't care what anybody says, I'm going to continue to do that because not all prostate cancer is the slow growing kind.  Matter of fact, most prostate cancer is not the slow growing kind," said Critz.

So do you need a PSA?  You need to talk to your doctor.

Mammograms aren't foolproof either. They have a high rate of false-positives, which can lead to more follow-ups, biopsies and anxiety. But, they're still the gold-standard. Mammograms are recommended for women 40 and over every year.

Colonoscopy, the screening tool for colon cancer, has few critics. Men and women 50 and up should get one every ten years.

For cervical cancer, women from 21 to 29 should get a pap smear every three years, and for women 30 to 65, every five years.

Cutter had radioactive seeds implanted into his prostate to kill his cancer, and now he's a volunteer,   spreading the "get-tested" message.

"So we, absolutely, positively advocate for people to get PSA tests, and to get them on a regular basis," said Cutter.

If you're a current or former heavy smoker over 50, you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a low-dose CT scan to look for lung cancer. The scans are not recommended for healthy people, who are not considered high-risk.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • 2014 Tax Day freebies and more

    2014 Tax Day freebies and more

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-15 16:09:24 GMT
    Have you filed your taxes? Today is the final day to file your 2013 IRS tax return. And some local businesses are offering freebies and deals to those who filed on time.
    Have you filed your taxes? Today is the final day to file your 2013 IRS tax return. And some local businesses are offering freebies and deals to those who filed on time.
  • What's Happening: College2Career Fair at Cobb Galleria

    What's Happening: College2Career Fair at Cobb Galleria

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:39 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:39:57 GMT
    If you are a college student looking for a job you can head over to the Cobb Galleria on Tuesday. There is a huge career fair to help students transition into the workforce.
    If you are a college student looking for a job you can head over to the Cobb Galleria on Tuesday. There is a huge career fair to help students transition into the workforce.
  • FOX Medical Team

    Helping teens when their college choice says "NO"

    Helping teens when their college choice says "NO"

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:17 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:17:59 GMT
    For many teens, the college application process is their first real taste of a the high-stakes, high pressure world of adulthood.
    For many teens, the college application process is their first real taste of a the high-stakes, high pressure world of adulthood.
  • More Health NewsMore>>

  • 'Tater' the dog survives being impaled while chasing squirrel

    'Tater' the dog survives being impaled while chasing squirrel

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:21 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:21:01 GMT
    Tater was impaled. The half-inch rod cut straight through his body. His owner knew if he pulled Tater off the rod, he might bleed to death.
    Tater was impaled. The half-inch rod cut straight through his body. His owner knew if he pulled Tater off the rod, he might bleed to death.
  • FOX Medical Team

    Helping teens when their college choice says "NO"

    Helping teens when their college choice says "NO"

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:17 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:17:59 GMT
    For many teens, the college application process is their first real taste of a the high-stakes, high pressure world of adulthood.
    For many teens, the college application process is their first real taste of a the high-stakes, high pressure world of adulthood.
  • Kathleen Sebelius resigning from top HHS post

    Kathleen Sebelius resigning from top HHS post

    Friday, April 11 2014 8:12 AM EDT2014-04-11 12:12:16 GMT
    Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning.
    Embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices