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VICTIMS OF DIESEL EXPOSURES

The Importance of Cancer Screenings

Published on March 30th, 2017 by Andrew L. Hughes

What is a cancer screening and why should you get one?

We often receive inquiries from seemingly healthy individuals who have viewed our website or postings and become concerned because they were exposed to cancer-causing toxins like diesel exhaust and solvents.  These individuals often ask – what can be done?  One simple thing that you can do is request a cancer screening.  Cancer screenings are administered by a medical professional and often include things like chest x-rays and blood tests. Cancer screenings can help find cancer in the earliest stages before symptoms appear. The earlier a cancer is detected, the easier it is to cure or treat.  Getting cancer screenings frequently is a smart precautionary measure for everyone.

What should I expect from a cancer screening?

Cancer screenings come in all shapes and sizes. Different types of cancer often have different tests, although there are a few categories that screenings generally fall into.

  • Physicals: Physical examinations of the body including checking for signs of the disease such as lumps or unusual swelling in certain body parts are common. If you are exhibiting physical signs or symptoms, it’s generally made obvious to a medical professional pretty quickly.
  • Medical History Exams: A physician will usually ask you about your medical history to scan for any risk factors associated with cancers. Things like your occupational exposures, diet, environment, and habits all play a role in your likelihood for developing different types of cancers.
  • Lab Tests & Imaging: Lab tests involve sending a sample of your blood, urine or tissue to a laboratory to undergo testing. Medical imaging can also help determine the presence of certain cancers, so you may undergo x-rays, CT scans, and other imaging.
  • Genetics: There are tests available now to find genetic mutations linked to certain variations of cancer. Much like lab tests, these tests will involve taking a sample of blood, skin, hair, and other tissues that will be analyzed in a laboratory setting.

CDC Recommendations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for people who have a history of heavy smoking, who smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 55 and 80 years old.  Whether you smoked or not, if you experienced prolonged exposures to known carcinogens like diesel exhaust and solvents during your career, and you are over 55 years old, don’t you think it makes sense to follow a guideline like the one recommended by the CDC for smokers?

Cancer screenings are important because they help you stay on top of your health and catch cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s the most easily treated. The older you are, the more frequently you should be screened for cancer, as your risk for cancer increases with age.

 

The most important thing is to consult with your doctor and collectively determine the best approach for safeguarding your health. 

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