How to Know if You're at High Risk for Cancer

Cancer is shockingly common. In 2020, 1.8 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. Almost all of us have friends or family members that have had cancer.

Anyone can get cancer, but some people have a higher risk than others. If you’re wondering whether you have an elevated cancer risk, the team of care providers at Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati can help.

We work with you to determine whether you are at risk for various types of cancer. Read on to learn about some of the ways we do this.

Your health and lifestyle

During your appointments, our providers talk with you about your personal health history to determine whether it puts you at an increased risk of any type of cancer. For example, we ask you about your overall health, whether you’ve had any sexually transmitted infections, and any exposure you may have had to radiation or carcinogenic chemicals.

We also check in with you about your lifestyle choices, such as your smoking history, exercise habits, diet, and sun exposure. When we identify lifestyle choices that raise your risk of cancer, we suggest changes you can make to protect yourself.

Family health history

Certain types of cancer run in families, so we ask you about your known family history of cancer. We also encourage you to talk with parents and other family members about their knowledge of cancer in your family.  

Cancer screening

During your well-woman appointments, we make sure you’re up-to-date on cancer screening. For example, Pap smears can find cervical cancers and precancers early, when they’re easiest to treat. And mammograms are recommended to screen for breast cancer.

If screening tests uncover potential problems, we recommend diagnostic testing to learn more.

Genetic testing

Scientists have made dramatic progress in the use of genetic testing to reveal the risk of hereditary cancers. Genetic testing consists of a simple blood test that looks for cancer-related genetic mutations.

At Associates in Women’s Health, we offer the Myriad myRisk™ hereditary cancer test, which is one of the most comprehensive risk detectors available today. Myriad myRisk is a blood test that identifies an elevated risk for eight different types of cancer: breast, colorectal, endometrial, gastric, melanoma, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate.

If testing finds an elevated risk of one or more types of cancer, we work with you to create a strategy that may include lifestyle changes, testing, prophylactic treatment, and follow-up exams that can help keep you as safe as possible.

Learn more about your cancer risk

We work with all of our patients on an individual basis to assess and explore their cancer risk. To find out more about how cancer might affect you and to make sure you’re current on your cancer screening, schedule an appointment with one of our providers by calling our office at 513-794-1500 or requesting an appointment today.

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