Cancer Screening Guidelines

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Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests to help prevent cancer or catch it early.

Breast Cancer

Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing as long as a woman is in good health.

Colorectal Cancer/Colon Cancer

Beginning at age 50, talk to your doctor about the testing option that is best for you and then have regular testing.

The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred.  Check whether these tests are available to you and decide whether you are willing to have one of these:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Prostate Cancer

Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who has prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45.

Lung Cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) does not recommend tests to screen lung cancer in people who are at average risk of this disease. However, the ACS does have screening guidelines for individuals who are at high risk of lung cancer due to cigarette smoking.

If you meet all of the following criteria then you might be a candidate for screening:

  • 55 to 77 years of age
  • Have at least a 30 pack per year smoking history AND are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • Take a Lung Cancer Risk Assessment 

Cervical Cancer

Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called co-testing) every 5 years.  This is the preferred approach for this age group, but it is also fine to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.  

Some women – because of their health history – may need to have a different screening schedule for cervical cancer. 

An annual Well-Woman gynecologic exam is recommended.