Health Tips: Cancer screening can save your life -- what are you waiting for?


In the U.S., there are around 40,300 indoor movie screens all prepared to show some of the more than 8,895 titles that IMDB says will be released this year. Too bad cancer screens aren’t getting such public support.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that last year, screening for breast cancer declined by 87%, and for cervical cancer it went down 84%. Screenings for lung and colorectal cancers also have declined, according to the National Cancer Institute. That means that cancer cases will be caught far later than they could have been, and outcomes are less certain. The NCI estimates that if folks get back to screenings, there will still be 10,000 excess deaths from colorectal and breast cancer in the U.S. in the next decade because of screening and treatment delays.

Earlier this year, a coalition of 76 cancer organizations released an open letter urging Americans to make cancer care a priority. That’s because women ages 50 to 69 who get a mammogram every two years see a 16.5% reduction in deaths from breast cancer versus no screening. Getting an all-clear or having a polyp removed during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy cuts the risk of colon cancer by 40%.

The cancer screenings that adults need (frequency depends on age, disease risks, gender and your doc) include: PSA (prostate), mammogram (breast), pap and HPV test (cervix), a visual skin check, fecal occult blood testing annually, colonoscopy when recommended (colorectal) -- and for heavy smokers, a CT scan. Talk to your doc about getting them on your schedule soon.

Living to a healthy 100 -- you can do it

Nancy Lieberman was 50 when she retired from the WNBA; Satchel Paige was just six days shy of 51 when he left the ballpark; and George Blanda was 48 when he put down the football. Longevity like that is rare in professional sports, but a long lifespan is becoming ever-more common off the field. The oldest living person (as of this writing) is 118-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan. And a new study published in Demographic Research says that many people alive today will live to over 100 (there are now 500,000 of them worldwide), with a possible lifespan of 125 or 130 by 2099.

The researchers predict that by the beginning of the next century, there’s a 99% probability of a person living to 124, a 68% chance of a person hitting 127 and a 13% probability of someone living to age 130.

If you’re going to be alive for 100 years (or more), you want to have your health last that long too. That’s why it has never been more important to start today to adopt health-extending habits that up your chances of enjoying outdoor fun at 101.

You know the three keys: plant-based, minimally processed foods; lots of activity and interaction -- physical and mental; and stress control. For detailed suggestions, enjoy Dr. Mike’s “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code to Live Younger for Longer,” out January 2022. It’s about how to have a body that’s 20, 30 or 40 even when you’re 70 -- or older!