A doctor has revealed the medical checks you need to get for each decade.
Dr Penny Adams has looked at the potential health risks across different age groups and the tests available with a decade-by-decade breakdown of illnesses.
The medical expert, from Sydney, urged everyone to get on top of their health at every stage in life.
A doctor has revealed the medical checks you need to get for each decade (stock image)
The common cancers for each age group
20s: Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Routine cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer, while men are required to inspect their testicles for any lumps to prevent testicular cancer.
30s and 40s: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in Australia and skin checks are highly recommended by doctors across the country.
50s and 60s: Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer. It kills more people in NSW than prostate cancer, breast cancer or melanoma. Bowel cancer screening can detect cancers at an earlier stage when treatment can be more successful.
Up to 80 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are over 50 years of age. There is currently no effective test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. But if you have a family history of ovarian cancer, you should talk to your GP about options for managing your risk and your concerns.
Prostate cancer is a major health concern in Australia, causing the second highest number of cancer deaths in men after lung cancer.
IN YOUR 20s
For young women, the main check up is a cervical screening check – a simple procedure to check the health of your cervix.
The routine cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer -and is expected to protect up to 30 per cent more women.
In December 2017, the cervical screening test replaced the pap test in Australia so women are now required to get checked once every five years instead of every two.
‘[Women] don’t need to be screened until they’re 25 but if you have some symptoms like abnormal bleeding, definitely go along and see your GP. Otherwise, routine cervical screen at 25,’ Dr Adams told the Today show.
For young men, Dr Adams strongly advised regularly checking their testicles for any lumps to prevent testicular cancer.
‘If you find a lump in the testicle, then you should go straight to your GP,’ she said.
IN YOUR 30s AND 40s
Dr Adams said people should look at getting their heart checked every two years to prevent cardiovascular disease.
‘We all worry about all these cancers. For example in women, if you add up all the cancers – cervical, breasts, ovaries, many minimal women die from heart disease. We’re so focused on all those other checks, we forget to check our heart,’ she said.
She said the appointment normally takes just 15 minutes with a GP who would carry out a check on your ‘lifestyle factors’ such as diet, exercise and smoking.
‘They’ll measure your blood pressure, your weight, might put a dipstick in your urine and a fasting blood test for glucose and cholesterol – and that’s a heart check, that’s all you need to do,’ she said.
For people starting from the age of 40, Dr Adams said you should be checking for diabetes, which is a skin test, about every three years.
Dr Penny Adams (pictured) has looked at the potential health risks across different age groups and the tests available with a decade-by-decade breakdown of illnesses
IN YOUR 50s AND 60s
Dr Adams said people in their 50s and 60s should go for a routine bowel cancer screening test every two years.
The test is easy, quick and can be done from the comfort of your home as every Australian who turns 50 would get a free screening kit sent in the post around the time of their birthday.
‘Seriously, I’ve had patients whose lives have been saved by doing this test,’ Dr Adams said.
‘Don’t get the test and put it in the bin or in your cupboard. Do the test, it requires two poo tests – it’s very simple, and then send it off – and you’ll get one of the kits, every two years. Only 40 per cent of people are actually doing the test.’
To look for signs of breast cancer, women can get free mammograms from age 50 every two years.
And while screening mammograms are targeted for those aged between 50 and 75, Dr Adams said younger women can also request to get the x-ray earlier.
She advised women going through the start of menopause should get a bone density test – a simple scan that measures the density of your bones usually at the hip and spine.
While men should talk to their GP about getting a prostate screening – as the risk of prostate cancer is higher among older men.
While there are no specific screening tests available, early detection and treatment can significantly improve chances of survival.
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