You have a higher chance of surviving cancer when it is detected early (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Time and time again, when we hear that someone lost their battle with cancer, the comment that often comes up is that they would have had a better chance of surviving if the cancer was detected earlier.

That means many people are finding out they have cancer when it is already in the deadliest stages, which is either three or four.

What is known for sure is that cancer mortality rates can significantly reduce if people take regular screenings more seriously.

There isn’t always a standard answer to how often we should all go for one because it depends on certain factors, which can be found on this list.

Read on:

Family history

Family history isn’t always the reason why people develop cancer. However, genetic mutations in the family can increase one’s risk.


Keep Reading

Of course, this doesn’t mean that if someone in your family had a certain type of cancer you will automatically get it too. It just means that, if there is a strong cancer history in your family, you should talk to your healthcare provider about getting a genetic test to know your risk. Then once the results come out, they can advise you on how often you should go for screening.

Risk of exposure

Many cancers are triggered by lifestyle habits. Things like smoking, excessive alcohol use, unprotected sex with multiple partners, direct exposure to UV rays and poor dieting can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

If you were or are a smoker, you have an increased risk of lung cancer. Therefore, you need to go for screening more often. The case is the same if you are obese because being an unhealthy weight also predisposes you to many types of cancer including thyroid and uterine cancer.

All these things will be examined by your healthcare provider.

Results from previous screenings

Any previous screenings you have done will also guide your doctor on how often you should go. If results show any abnormalities, then that indicates higher risk and a more urgent need for regular screening.

If the results from your screening history don’t show any signs of increased risk, they might suggest fewer screenings.


Age can also influence a person’s likelihood of developing cancer. More specifically, from the ages of around 40 onwards, certain people are at a higher risk also depending on other lifestyle factors as well.

With common cancer like breast cancer, which mostly occurs in women 50 years and over, a yearly mammogram is recommended. In men, age is a big contributor to the likelihood of prostate cancer, so screening every two years can be recommended for ages 50 and above.

Prevalence factors

In a country like Kenya, breast cancer is common. And it can develop in women as young as 35. The case might not be exactly the same in other countries, and these differences might indicate what types of cancers we should be on the lookout for and how often we should go for screening.

This can also be said about the risk differences connected to race. Certain cancers are common in people of African descent as compared to Caucasians or Asians.

Prostate, lung and colorectal cancers for instance account for more deaths in black men while melanoma is prevalent in the white community.