Are you up to date on all your cancer screenings? Many of us delayed or missed life-saving screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic and are still getting back on track.
Nearly 2 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022. Early detection and treatment can save lives or prevent cancer altogether. At Summit Health, during Cancer Screen Week, we highlight the best tools available for detecting common cancers.
It is important to remember that all recommendations are a general guideline and may change based on personal risk factors such as your medical or family history. Talk to your physician about what is right for you using this outline as a guide.
What tests are available? Mammogram is the most common test used for screening. An MRI or ultrasound may also be recommended by your provider.
When you should start having a yearly mammogram will depend on your age and family history. Talk to your physician about what is right for you using this outline as a general guide.
- Women, ages 40-49, should discuss benefits and risks with their doctor.
- All women over age 50 should have regular yearly mammogram screenings.
- Individuals who have a family history of breast cancer may be advised to start screening at a younger age.
Our Women’s Imaging location in Clifton is now open with same day availability for screening mammography. Call (862) 289-1942 to schedule your mammogram today.
What tests are available? Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) lung cancer screening
LDCT-LCS is a noninvasive test that uses low-dose radiation to take detailed pictures of the chest. It's painless and only takes a few minutes. You should have this screening if you’re at a higher risk of developing lung cancer and meet these criteria:
- You’re a smoker or former smoker aged 50 to 80.
- You currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years.
- You have at least a 20-pack-year smoking history. This is the number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the years you smoked.
Speak to your primary care physician or pulmonologist to see if you are a candidate for LDCT.
Call (862) 289-1942 to schedule your appointment.
What tests are available? Colonoscopy and stool-based tests
A regular colonoscopy is the best way to detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps that can become colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy is not only a screening test, but it can also prevent cancer from developing in the first place by removing polyps. More than 4 percent of both men and women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. With regular and timely screenings, most cases are preventable.
Screening should begin at age 45, but those with risk factors may need to start earlier. Colonoscopy is generally repeated every 10 years in patients at average risk of developing colorectal cancer if no polyp is found. Your doctor will help you decide on a screening plan that is best for you.
Stool tests are also available but have significant limitations. They can only detect abnormalities that already exist rather than finding polyps and removing them before they become cancerous. Stool tests can be considered when an individual is reluctant to have a colonoscopy.
What tests are available? Pap and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests
Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer screenings — which include a primary HPV test or a Pap test that includes an HPV screening — can help identify disease before it starts. Your doctor will help you decide how often you need to be tested — this could be yearly or as much as every five years.
If you are between the ages of 9 and 45 years, you can now significantly reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by receiving the HPV vaccine.
What tests are available? Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal exams
The American Cancer Society offers following general guidelines for PSA screening after a shared decision to screen is made with your doctor.
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative, such as a father or brother, diagnosed with prostate cancer younger than age 65.
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk of developing prostate cancer including those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.
What tests are available? Skin checks by your dermatologist or primary care physician and self-exams
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Make an appointment with a dermatologist or primary care physician every year for a skin cancer screening check. They'll be able to see areas of your body you can't easily monitor, like your scalp or the backs of your legs. You should also monitor your skin monthly for any changes. If you notice any new moles or changes to other skin growths, come in for an evaluation.