Guide to Cancer Screenings

Most women know to get a pap smear once a year.  Some people know they are supposed to get a mole check yearly, but did you know there also several other cancer screenings you should have done?

Regular cancer screenings are vital to protecting your health. The doctors at La Peer Health Systems recommend preventative screenings because finding cancer early greatly increases the chance for successful treatment.

While each patient has individual cancer screening needs, based on the family history of cancer, here is a general guide to when and how often you should be seeing your doctor for screenings:

Type of Cancer Who needs to be screened? When do I need to be screened?
Breast All women
  • Start self breast examinations at the age of 20 and repeat them monthly
  • Clinical breast exam should occur every 3 years
  • Schedule your first mammogram around the age of 40 and repeat the breast cancer screening every 1-2 years
Cervical All women aged 18 and over
  • Schedule annual pap smears to check for cervical cancer. After 3 normal tests, you can be screened every 1-3 years
Colorectal Men and women 50 years old and over.

African American men and women should start screenings at age 45.

  • Fecal occult blood test once a year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
  • Schedule a colonoscopy every 10 years to be screened for colorectal cancer
Prostate Men 40 years old and over
  • Schedule a prostate cancer screening every year
Skin Men and women 20 years old and over
  • Self skin checks once a month
  • Skin exams with a dermatologist annually