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 men and women begin regular screening to detect different types of cancer when they’re most treatable. Based on age, family history, and other conditions, these recommendations could differ, so speak with your primary care physician about what is best for you.
At St. Luke’s Health, we offer the following cancer screenings:
- 3D mammograms and biopsies detect and diagnose breast cancer in men and women.
- Blood tests measure prostate-specific antigen levels. The American Cancer Society recommends men begin screening for prostate cancer at age 50 if they’re at average risk and at age 45 if they have a higher risk.
- A low-dose CT scan may be recommended for patients with a history of smoking to check for lung cancer. See if you’re eligible.
- Pap smears detect signs of precancerous cells or cervical cancer. The CDC recommends that women receive their first exam at age 21.
- Colonoscopies are performed to detect polyps, a sign of colorectal cancer. Doctors can also remove certain polyps for biopsy during the procedure.
- Pelvic exams are used by OBGYNs 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.
- Transvaginal ultrasounds and endometrial biopsies are used to screen for signs of uterine cancer in women at a higher risk.
- Visual exams of the body are performed by dermatologists to identify any abnormal spots. They may then take samples from any unusual patches and test for 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.