Prevention Tips and Screening Guidelines
Simmons Cancer Institute's Screening Guidelines provide information about early detection and prevention for you, your family and friends.
Cancer is most treatable when it's found early. Medical experts have developed screening guidelines to detect some types of cancers at their earliest, most treatable stage before any signs or symptoms develop.
- There are early detection screening tests for breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal, and skin cancers.
- Self-examination and knowledge of family history are important for early detection and screening.
Screening guidelinesView Cancer Prevention Tips
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
Breast Self Examination (BSE) – Studies have not shown BSE alone to reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer. However, BSE allows one to know how their breast normally feels and to notice any changes. BSE is recommended beginning at age 20 on a monthly basis. It is best to perform this exam the same time every month, preferably at the end of a period when breast are less tender. For those with irregular menstrual cycles, perform BSE the same day each month.
Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) – It is recommended that women have a CBE beginning at age 20 every one to three years, and then annually at age 40. Currently, a mammogram with a CBE is the most effective way of detecting breast cancer.
Mammogram – Women age 40 and older should have a yearly mammogram. Women at risk for breast cancer may need a mammogram prior to age 40 and should discuss options with their health care provider.
The information provided are guidelines and not meant to be used as medical advice or replace the advice of your health care provider. It is important to discuss breast cancer with your health care provider.
The Pap test is the most common method to detect changes in the cervix and cervical cancer. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had a regular Pap test.
Within three years of beginning sexual intercourse or by age 21.
Up to age 30
Annually with Pap test or every two years with liquid-based cytology.
After age 30
- Women who have had three consecutive negative annual Pap tests can be rescreened every two to three years or;
- Women can be screened every three years, but not more frequently, with the Pap test or liquid based cytology and HPV DNA test.
Over age 70
Women who have had three or more consecutive normal Pap tests documented and no abnormal Pap tests results in the last 10 years can stop cervical cancer screening.
Women who have had a hysterectomy with the removal of the cervix for benign reasons and no history of cervical cancer or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia may discontinue routine cervical cancer screening.
Women with HIV or other immunosuppressive conditions, women with cancer of the cervix or endometrium, women exposed before birth to diethylstilbestrol need to discuss screening options with their healthcare provider.
The information provided are guidelines and not meant to be used as medical advice or replace the advice of your health care provider. It is important to discuss cervical cancer with your health care provider.
Starting at age 50, those who are at average risk for colorectal cancer should have one of the five screenings every year:
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year or;
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or;
- FOBT or FIT every year with a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or;
- Double-contract barium enema every five years or;
- Colonoscopy every 10 years.
Moderate risk are those who have a family history of colorectal cancer in a first degree relative or a personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer.
- Colorectal cancer in first degree relative under age 55 or two first degree relatives:
- Colonoscopy at age 40 or 10 years before earliest case in the family, whichever is earlier.
- Colorectal cancer in first degree relative over the age of 55:
- Colonoscopy at age 50 or 10 years before the age of the case or whichever is earlier.
- Personal history of large or multiple polyps:
- Colonoscopy one year after removal of polyps. Every year if polyps recur or five years if normal.
- Personal history of colorectal cancer:
- Colonoscopy one year after resection. Three years if normal, five years if still normal.
High risk are those with a hereditary or genetic disposition for colorectal cancer and those with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Family history of Familial adenomatous polyposis:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy and consideration for genetic counseling and testing beginning at age 12 to 14. Repeat sigmoidoscopy every one to two years.
- Family history of hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer:
- Colonoscopy and consideration for genetic counseling and testing beginning at age 21 to 40. Repeat colonoscopy every two years and then yearly at age 40.
- Inflammatory bowel disease:
- Colonoscopy beginning at age 15 for left-sided colitis and age 8 for pancolitis. Repeat every one to two years.
The information provided are guidelines and not meant to be used as medical advice or replace the advice of your health care provider. It is important to discuss colorectal cancer with your health care provider
The National Cancer Institute indicates there is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Currently, research is underway to study the combination of using the Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) as a way to get accurate results. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider about these tests and your risk for prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society does recommend prostate cancer screening.
American Cancer Society Screening Recommendations
- DRE and PSA, beginning at age 50 to men with at least a ten year life expectancy.
- Men at high risk (father, brother or son diagnosed with prostate cancer under age 65) should begin testing at age 45.
- Men at higher risk (several first-degree relatives who had prostate cancer at an early age) should begin testing at age 40.
The information provided are guidelines and not meant to be used as medical advice or replace the advice of your health care provider. It is important to discuss prostate cancer with your health care provider.
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