Cancer Screening Recommendations
At University Hospitals, we offer comprehensive cancer screenings. Cancer screenings help find cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. In some cases, screening can detect pre-cancerous changes before they progress, preventing cancer from occurring.
Depending on your individual cancer risk and family history, your doctor may advise starting screening earlier or more often. Learn more about the latest cancer screening recommendations by age.
- Breast Cancer: Screening Mammogram
Screening mammograms can find breast cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable, making survival close to 100 percent when found early.
A baseline (first) mammogram is recommended for women starting at age 40, regardless of their risk factors, followed by annual screening mammograms every year thereafter. Women with a family history of cancer may be advised to start screening earlier.
- Breast Cancer: Fast Breast MRI Screening
For women diagnosed with dense breast tissue, the Fast Breast MRI is an effective method in detecting invasive breast cancers. The Fast Breast MRI may detect cancers not visible on a mammogram. However, it is not intended to replace mammography. Routine screening mammograms are still recommended.
Learn more about this 10-minute, self-pay examination.
- Cervical Cancer: Routine Screening
Cervical cancer is largely preventable through vaccination and screening. Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), a skin virus for which a preventive vaccine now exists. A primary care physician or OB/GYN can order the HPV vaccine for you and answer any questions you may have.
For screenings, women should begin having Pap smears at age 21, and the test should be repeated at least every three years. HPV co-testing with Pap smears should start at age 30, and women should be re-screened at least every five years.
Our team of women’s health specialists can help you with these preventive screenings and answer any questions you may have.
- Colon Cancer: Colonoscopy Screening
A colonoscopy screening can not only catch colon cancer early – when it is most treatable – it can also stop colon cancer before it develops by finding and removing pre-cancerous polyps.
You should have a colonoscopy screening if:
- You are a man or woman age 45 or older with no risk factors.
- You are a man or woman age 40 with a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- You have a personal history of colorectal polyps, blood in your stool, abdominal pain or other symptoms.
Other colon cancer screening options are available.
- Lung Cancer: Low-Dose Lung CT Scan
A lung nodule is a small growth found in the lung. Although most lung nodules are noncancerous (benign), some may have the potential to become cancerous and spread to other areas of the body. Finding and monitoring lung nodules when they are small offers the best chance for successful treatment and optimal outcomes.
A low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan allows doctors to better see the location, size and shape of any abnormal (not normal) tissue, such as small cancers.
The screening guidelines for a low-dose lung CT scan are:
- Between the ages 50 – 77
- Has a 20 pack-year smoking history (20 years of smoking a pack a day, or equivalent)
- Current smoker, or has quit within the past 15 years
- In good health – no new cough or unexplained weight loss
- Willing to do the follow-up testing and treatment, if needed
- Has not had a chest CT (CAT) scan in the last year
- Written physician order
You can also call 216-983-5864 to speak with someone from our lung screening program to find out if a lung cancer screening is recommended for you and obtain answers to any questions you may have.
To speak with someone about the UH Tobacco Treatment & Counseling Program, call 216-896-1810.
- Prostate Cancer: PSA Screening
All healthy men, particularly those at higher than average risk based on age, family history or race, should have a baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test done in their late 40s or early 50s. However, if you have a close family member who has had prostate cancer, you may be advised to begin screenings at an earlier age.
If your baseline PSA level is high compared to others the same age, the risk of developing prostate cancer is increased and you may be advised to undergo additional diagnostic testing.
When PSA results are considered along with other risk factors, it increases the chances of finding cancer early while it is still localized in the prostate and has not spread. If cancer is suspected, an adaptive, “big picture” screening approach that includes other diagnostic tests, allows doctors to make very educated decisions about each patient and whether or not they need a prostate biopsy.
A primary care physician can order the PSA test for you.
- Skin Cancer: Skin Check Screening
At age 18, check your skin monthly for suspicious moles or color changes, especially if you are fair-skinned or regularly exposed to the sun.
Full-body yearly skin exams with your dermatologist should begin at age 40.
- Cancer Prevention: HPV Vaccine
About 30 percent of cancers in adults are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). These include:
- Anal cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Mouth, throat, head and neck cancer
- Vaginal and vulvar cancer
A preventive vaccine now exists for this skin virus. A primary care physician can order the HPV vaccine for you and answer any questions you may have.
Tips for Reducing your Risk of Cancer
Our experienced team of cancer specialists at UH Seidman Cancer Center have shared seven tips for reducing your risk of cancer.
Many cancers cannot be avoided because they are caused by random mistakes in the genetic code that governs how our cells divide – a process medical scientists are still working to understand and control. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce your risk of cancer.
Most importantly, if something does not seem right, it is best to talk with your primary care physician and get your questions answered.