Are you up to date on your cancer screenings?

radiologyHave you had your annual mammogram this year? Still putting off that colonoscopy? New treatments and advanced screening methods over the last 20 years have played a significant role in decreasing the cancer death rates in the United States.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), since 1991, Americans have had a 20 percent lower risk of death from cancer. Death rates for colon, breast and prostate cancers continue to fall thanks to new and advanced screenings and treatments. But this declining rate doesn’t mean you should put off cancer screenings—in fact, just the opposite. An estimated 1.7 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013 and an estimated 600,000 people will die from cancer, according to the ACS.

Some cancers, such as melanoma and pancreatic cancer, are on the rise, and lung cancer is expected to account for 26 percent of all female and 28 percent of all male cancer deaths this year.

You can help prevent cancer and cancer-related deaths by quitting smoking, losing weight, eating a healthier diet, exercising and consuming less alcohol. Getting screened regularly can also help doctors discover cancers at early stages, when treatment is most likely to be effective and the cancer is less likely to have spread.