Prevention and Screening
It’s important to remember that cancer is not a single disease, but a group of related diseases. There are a number of factors in our genes, our lifestyle and our environment which may increase or decrease our risk of getting cancer. Some factors that may affect cancer risk include cigarette smoking and tobacco use, certain infections, exposure to particular types of radiation, use of immunosuppressive medications, food and alcohol consumption, physical activity, obesity and exposure to chemicals. Learn more about risk factors.
While cancer prevention may not be 100 percent possible, cancer prevention tips will help reduce your risk. Reducing your risk of cancer begins at home with a healthy lifestyle and continues at the doctor’s office with other preventative measures, like certain vaccines. When these are combined with regular cancer screenings for early detection, you are giving yourself the best odds of success.
Find out more about the steps you can take to reduce your risk, including appropriate screenings.
Females: Cervical cancer screening; Beginning at age 21, yearly pelvic exam with Pap collection every three years or based on our doctor’s recommendations.
Females: An x-ray of the breasts to check for signs of breast cancer; Once a year starting at age 40. If you’re at high risk or have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you should start screenings earlier.
Colorectal cancer screening
Male/Females: Looks for signs of cancer and pre-cancer in the colon and rectum; Colonoscopy starting at age 50,
repeated every 10 years (Additional methods for colon cancer screenings include: fecal occult blood test yearly; flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years; double contrast barium every 5 years; computed tomography every 5 years).
PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam
Male: Checks for prostate cancer; Starting at age 50, discuss the pros and cons of this test with your doctor. Men at high risk, such as those with a family history, should discuss the test with their doctor starting at age 45.
Skin cancer screening
Male/Females: Clinical skin examination; Discuss with your doctor whether a visual skin examination is right for you.
CT scan of the lungs
Male/Females: Checks for lung cancer in people who are at risk; If you have a history of smoking 30 pack-years, equal to one pack per day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years, ask your doctor about a lung cancer screening.
Individuals with a hereditary form of cancer inherit a mutation in a cancer gene that results in a higher risk of developing cancer and often at a younger age. Genetic counselors evaluate individuals and families affected by cancer to determine if their cancer is inherited. Understanding this information can empower individuals to make the best possible treatment decisions while reducing future risks for themselves and their family members.