Overview

What Is Cancer Screening?

What Is Cancer Screening?

Some types of cancer can be found before they cause symptoms. Checking for cancer or for conditions that may lead to cancer is called screening.

Screening can help doctors find and treat some types of cancer early. Generally, cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is found at an early stage.

Talk to your health care provider about what cancer screenings are right for you, based on these facts:

  • Your gender
  • Your age
  • Your family history

Cancer Screening Guidelines

Breast Cancer Screening

Ages 20 to 39: Clinical breast exam every one to three years
Ages 40+: Clinical breast exam every year; mammogram every year

Cervical Cancer Screening

Ages 21 to 29: Pap test every three years
Ages 30+: Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years OR Pap test every three years

Colon & Rectal Cancer Screening

Ages 50+: Colonoscopy every 10 years OR sigmoidoscopy every five years OR fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year

Lung Cancer Screening

Ages 55 to 80: Low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan every year if: you smoked an amount equal to one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years; you currently smoke (or quit within 15 years); you have no lung cancer symptoms or history of other cancer

Oral Cancer Screening

Ages 18+: Talk with your health care provider about the benefits and risks of oral cancer screening

Skin Cancer Screening

Ages 18+: Total body skin exam by a health care provider every year; People with many moles may benefit from mole mapping, when a dermatologist uses digital photos to track changes in the skin over time

Prostate Cancer Screening

Ages 50+: Talk with your doctor about benefits and risks of this screening, including the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test

Screening Recommendations for Males

Ages 50+

  • Talk with your health care provider about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening
  • Get a colonoscopy every 10 years OR sigmoidoscopy every five years OR fecal occult blood test every year
Along with regular exams, know your body and practice awareness at any age. That way, you’ll notice changes and can tell your health care provider right away.

Screening Recommendations for Females

Ages 21 to 29

  • Get a clinical breast exam every one to three years
  • Get a Pap test every three years

Ages 30 to 39

  • Get a clinical breast exam every one to three years
  • Get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years OR Pap test every three years

Ages 40 to 49

  • Get a clinical breast exam every year
  • Get a mammogram every year
  • Get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years OR Pap test every three years

Ages 50+

  • Get a clinical breast exam every year
  • Get a mammogram every year
  • Get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years OR Pap test every three years
  • Get a colonoscopy every 10 years OR sigmoidoscopy every five years OR fecal cccult blood test every year

Along with regular exams, know your body and practice awareness at any age. That way, you’ll notice changes and can tell your health care provider right away.

Cancer Prevention

You can take action to lower your risk (chances) of getting cancer. About half of all cancers could be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.