In many cases, early detection of cancer is vital to better outcomes for patients. Routine screenings for some of the most common types of cancer can reveal cancerous or precancerous areas when they are at their most treatable stage. While screening is not practical or possible for all types of cancer, it can improve patient outcomes when used in the right context.
Doctors recommend some routine screenings based on age or gender, while they recommend others if you have certain risk factors, such as a family history. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
At St. Luke’s Health, we offer the following cancer screenings:
- Breast cancer - Our radiologists throughout Greater Houston use advanced technology, including 3D mammography machines and breast MRIs with biopsy capabilities, to detect and diagnose breast cancer in men and women.
- Cervical cancer - Our OBGYNs across all of our hospitals in Houston and East Texas provide pap smears (also known as pap tests) to women to detect signs of precancerous cells or cervical cancer. The CDC recommends that women receive their first exam at age 21.
- Lung cancer - Not everyone should undergo a lung cancer screening. However, for patients with a history of smoking, a low-dose CT scan may be recommended to look for the disease. See if you’re eligible.
- Ovarian cancer - OBGYNs perform pelvic exams to feel for abnormalities in the ovaries, which may indicate cancer or another condition. Women should discuss how frequently they should receive pelvic exams with their doctor.
- Prostate cancer - The American Cancer Society recommends men begin screening for prostate cancer at age 50 if they’re at average risk and age 45 if they have a higher risk. Our Houston-based urologists offer blood tests to measure prostate-specific antigen levels. If levels are higher than average, your doctor may recommend additional tests.
- Skin cancer - A dermatologist will perform visual exams of the body to identify any abnormal spots. They may then take samples from any unusual patches and test for cancer.
- Uterine (endometrial) cancer - While only recommended for women at a higher risk for uterine cancer, a radiologist can perform a transvaginal ultrasound and endometrial biopsy to screen for signs of the disease. Talk with your doctor if you’re unsure of your risk of uterine cancer.
If you’re unsure whether you should begin screening for different cancers, talk to a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. They can review your medical and family history and provide recommendations and referrals.