Which cancer screenings should you get, avoid?

HOUSTON - Consumer Reports magazine has a new list of cancer-screening tests that it believes are needed and others that should be avoided.

Researchers said average-risk adults can avoid screening for several cancers, including pancreatic, testicular and ovarian cancer.

The tests for those diseases may not be able to detect the illness until later stages, and the risks may outweigh the benefits, experts said.

Experts also said there are tests that should not be avoided and can be life-saving. These tests include colonoscopies, mammograms and pap smears.

"Individuals who are at average risk should talk to their doctor about screening for cervical, colorectal and breast cancer. I would also recommend, although the report doesn't, that men talk to their doctors about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening and make a personal decision about that," said Dr. Therese Bevers with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "And that high risk individuals for lung cancer consider lung cancer screening, as there's now data that shows a substantial reduction in deaths if they get screening CT scans."

The report only eliminates certain tests for people who are not considered high-risk. Perhaps due to family history or other medical conditions. As always, experts say you should make those decisions after talking with your doctor.

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