The Latest In Cancer Screening

Having cancer screening tests at regular intervals is the single best way to protect against cancer. Not only can screening tests find cancers early when they’re most treatable, in the case of colon and cervical cancer they can actually help prevent the disease.

Screening tests are vital to finding cancer early when it is most treatable. Breast, cervical, and colon screening should be priorities for women. Colon screening should be a priority for men. Current or past heavy smokers between ages 55 and 74 should talk with a doctor about the potential benefits and harms of lung cancer screening with low-dose CT.

In addition to the specific tests generally laid out below, the American Cancer Society recommends that doctors also perform occasional exams for signs of cancer of the thyroid, testicles, ovaries, lymph nodes, oral cavity, and skin. Those at increased risk for specific cancer may need to begin screening earlier and get screening tests more often than is recommended for most people.

Check Your Cancer Screenings Here

Age Test Cancer How often
45 and over
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, with/without rectal exam Prostate Ages 45-49 – African-American men and others at increased risk: Discuss potential benefits/harms with doctor
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, with/without rectal exam Prostate Ages 50 and over – Discuss potential benefit/harms with doctor
Low-dose CT Lung Age 55 – 74 – For current/past heavy smokers: Discuss potential benefits/harms with doctor
One of the following: Colon Ages 50 and over (some guidelines recommend starting at age 45)
Colonoscopy Every 10 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy Every 5 years
Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) Every 5 years
Stool DNA test (sDNA) Every 3 years
Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) Every year
Age Test Cancer How often
21-29
Pap Cervical Every 3 years
30-39
Pap test + HPV test Cervical Every 5 years (every 3 years if Pap test alone)
40-44
Pap test + HPV test Cervical Every 5 years (every 3 years if Pap test alone)
Mammography Breast Every year
45 and over
Pap test + HPV test Cervical Every 5 years (every 3 years if Pap test alone)
Mammography Breast Ages 45-54 – Every year
Mammography Breast Ages 55 and over – Every 2 years, or can continue every year
Low-dose CT Lung Ages 55-74 – For current/past heavy smokers: Discuss potential benefits/harms with doctor
One of the following: Colon Ages 50 and over (some guidelines recommend starting at age 45)
Colonoscopy Every 10 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy Every 5 years
Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) Every 5 years
Stool DNA Test (sDNA) Every 3 years
Fecal Occult Blood Test (gFOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) Every year