According to the American Cancer Society, there is strong evidence that an individual’s risk of developing cancer can be reduced by healthy behavior: not using tobacco, getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy foods and following recommended cancer screening guidelines.
Screening tests may find cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most effective. It is important to remember that if your doctor suggests a screening test, it does not always mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Screening tests are performed when you have no cancer symptoms.
Among the different types of screening tests are a physical exam, medical history, laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging and genetic testing. Miami Cancer Institute also offers screening tests to detect the following cancers:
Women age 20 to 39 should have a clinical breast exam every year; and women over age 40 should have a mammogram every three years. 3-D mammography and breast MRI also are available.
Women age 21 to 64 should have a cytology test (Pap smear) every three years; or women age 30 to 65 years should have a Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years.
Adults age 50 or older should follow one of these screening options:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Computed tomographic colonography every five years. A colonoscopy will be performed if polyps are found
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year
Women who have been diagnosed with or have a family history of Lynch Syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) should have a transvaginal ultrasound and endometrial biopsy every year.
Adults age 21 to 75 who are at high risk for liver cancer due to chronic hepatitis B infection or cirrhosis of the liver should have a liver ultrasound and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test every six months.
Adults age 55 to 80 at high risk for lung cancer should have a low-dose CT scan
Women who are at high risk for ovarian cancer due to having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, having a close relative with ovarian cancer who has a suspected BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation or having Lynch Syndrome (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer) should have a transvaginal ultrasound and a CA 125 blood test every 6 to12 months.
Men age 50 to 75 should discuss the following screening options with their doctor:
Digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year.
Get a full-body skin cancer screening exam every year if you are at high risk for skin cancer due to inherited risks, environmental exposure or prior treatments that increase risk.