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Women: Screening Exams by Age

Take this checklist to your next doctor’s appointment. Your doctor can help you develop a more tailored screening plan if needed.  These exams are for women at average risk of cancer.

Ages 20 – 29

  • Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test every two years to check for cervical cancer, starting at age 21

Ages 30 – 39

  • Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every three years to check for cervical cancer

Ages 40-49

  • Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every three years to check for cervical cancer

Ages 50-59

  • Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every three years to check for cervical cancer
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years to check for colorectal cancer

Ages 60 and older

  • Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV tests every three years to check for cervical cancer
    • Starting at age 65, if you’ve had three or more negative Pap tests, and no positive Pap test in the last 10 years, speak with your doctor about whether you should continue screening.
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years to check for colorectal cancer
    • MD Anderson does not recommend colorectal cancer screening for men and women age 85 and older. If you’re age 76 to 85, your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening.

Regardless of your age, practice breast awareness. This means you should be familiar with your breasts so that they will notice any changes and report them to your doctor without delay.

 

Men: Screening Exams by Age

Take this checklist to your next doctor’s appointment. Your doctor can help you develop a more tailored screening plan if needed.  These exams are for men at average risk of cancer.

All Ages (20 and older)

Men older than age 20 should practice testicular and skin awareness. This means you should be familiar with your skin and testicles. Look for changes, so that you can report any differences to your doctor without delay.  Testicular cancer is more commonly found in younger men, and it’s very curable when found in its early stages. Screening exams play an important role in finding this cancer early.

Ages 45-49

  • Digital Rectal Exam and PSA Test every year to check for prostate cancer if you are African American or have a family history (father, brother, son) of prostate cancer. If you are not African American or do not have family history, you should start screening at age 50.

Ages 50-84

  • Digital Rectal Exam and PSA Test every year to check for prostate cancer
  • Colonoscopy or Virtual Colonoscopy every 10 years to check for colorectal cancer

Age 85 and older

MD Anderson does not recommend colorectal and prostate cancer screening for men age 85 and older. If you’re age 76 to 85, your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening.

 

National Geographic BRAIN GAMES

Increase Your Attention/Concentration

Below are some quick fixes for increasing your concentration right now.

  • Chew gum. According to research, the act of chewing gum increases the flow of blood to your brain. Researchers have shown that people chewing gum are able to concentrate more intently and remember new information better. Chew the sugar-free type to avoid a blood sugar spike.
  • Breathe from your belly. Many people are shallow breathers and don’t know it. Take several deep, slow breaths from your belly. Stomach breathing activates the brain’s Theta waves, which research shows improves memory. Deep breathing also increases the oxygen flow to your brain cells, which helps “wake them up”.
  • Do arm circles. Go where no one can see you (for example, the bathroom) and do 10 sets of arm circles. To do an arm circle, simply extend your arm straight out, then swing your arm all the way around behind you and back to the front, keeping your elbow locked. Do 10 on each side. This move only takes about 30 seconds but will increase your heart rate and the flow of blood to your brain.
  • Play a brain game. Puzzles and brain teasers force your mind to get into concentration mode. You can play brain games on paper or with friends, and you can also play them online. One of my favorite online free memory games is Lightning Librarian (shown at right).
  • Eat a brain snack or meal. A meal heavy on carbs and sugar will kill your concentration because of the way it spikes (and then crashes) your blood sugar. Similarly, skipping meals tends to make you light-headed. Instead, eat a small, balanced meal. Include foods that help the brain operate well, such as fish, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Squeeze your right fist, then your left fist. One study found that squeezing your fists in a particular order during memory tasks can improve recall. Participants were asked to memorize a list of 72 words. The group that remembered the best squeezed their right fist for 90 seconds before starting to memorize the list. Later they squeezed their left fist before trying to recall as many words from the list as they could. Researchers guessed that squeezing the fists in that order changes the brain temporarily in a way that boosts memory.
  • Drink a liter of water. Don’t drink sodas. Don’t drink coffee. Don’t eat a candy bar. These will not improve your concentration, they will just cause you to crash. Instead, get a liter bottle of water, and drink the entire thing straight down. Many people are dehydrated all the time and don’t realize it. Your brain is very sensitive to this. To be more alert, drink water!
  • Use “time boxes”. When you need to study new information, sit down in a quiet spot and set a timer. Give yourself only “X” amount of time to read review the material (for example, a half an hour for a magazine article). Break it down further – say 10 minutes to read an article, then 20 minutes to review and recite the information. Having a timer going and a predefined “time box” forces you to focus, because you know that your time is limited!