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Cancer and Procrastination

By October 24, 2016No Comments

Procrastination is a common occurrence. Many people will procrastinate to avoid facing something that is boring, difficult to accomplish, or even scary. Most of the time procrastination is harmless, but when it comes to your health, procrastination can lead to dangerous consequences.

Procrastinating Cancer Screenings

It is well known that an early diagnosis can help saves lives. Those who do not get regular check-ups with their doctor or frequent cancer screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms, run the risk of developing cancer without catching it early. For women at higher risk of developing breast cancer, regular screenings can save lives.

Various screening options for different cancer types may include:

  • Breast Cancer
    • Women should start administering monthly breast self exams in their 20’s and seek immediate medical advice if any changes or lumps are found.  
    • Women should get mammograms every year starting at age 40, or sooner dependent on family history.
    • Women should get clinical breast exams every 3 years starting at 20 and every year starting at 40.
  • Prostate Cancer
    • Men should start getting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests at age 50 for men at average risk or earlier for men with high risk.
    • The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.
  • Colon Cancer
    • Both men, and women, at the age of 50 should begin screening for colon and rectal cancer. People at higher-than average risk, should discuss screening at an earlier age. Screenings include:
      • FOBT or FIT tests
      • Colonoscopy
      • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
      • Double-contrast barium enema
      • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
  • Cervical Cancer
    • Women age 21 to 65 years should have a Pap smear every 3 years

If you have any cause for concern, talk to your doctor about other screening options.

Procrastinating Cancer Treatment

New York Times reported that more than half of the 500 cancer survivors they surveyed delayed seeking cancer treatment for at least two months after having cancer-related symptoms. For many of those surveyed, reasons for procrastination included fear of the unknown and insurance related or financial worries.

Tips to Avoid Procrastination during Cancer Screenings and Cancer Treatment:

  • Set up your next cancer screening or cancer treatment appointment NOW by calling your primary care physician or OB/GYN.
  • Create a to-do list of all the tasks you need to complete before your next doctor’s appointment.
  • Be realistic about your timelines so you don’t have to reschedule activities and appointments.
  • Ask for help from your support system during cancer screenings and cancer diagnostic appointments.
  • Focus on your success and congratulate yourself after attending cancer screenings or cancer treatment appointments.

If you are at risk for developing cancer, the best advice to keep in mind is that an early diagnosis can help save lives. Don’t put off regular cancer screenings, and if you are diagnosed with cancer, don’t procrastinate or avoid cancer treatment.

If you have additional questions about cancer treatment options, contact Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network.  We offer a variety of cancer treatment services and groundbreaking clinical research options for patients in Southern Nevada and from out-of-state. Visit our website at for more information, or call 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.   

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