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.

Pap test

Females: Cervical cancer screening; Beginning at age 21, yearly pelvic exam with Pap collection every three years or based on our doctor’s recommendations. Contact your Family Practice physician or provider or your gynecologist for this screening. If you need a Family Practice doctor gynecologist, you can use our 'Find a doctor' tool.


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. We have many screening locations throughout the Puget Sound and the Cascade foothills.

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). Contact us today to schedule a colonoscopy.

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. Contact your Family Practice physician or provider for this screening. If you need a Family Practice doctor, you can use our 'Find a doctor' tool.

Skin cancer screening

Male/Females: Clinical skin examination; Discuss with your doctor whether a visual skin examination is right for you. Contact your Family Practice physician or provider for this screening.

CT scan of the lungs

Male/Females: Checks for lung cancer in adults 55 – 75 years of age 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. Contact your Family Practice physician or provider for a low dose lung CT screening.

Genetic counseling

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. Contact your Family Practice physician or provider for a referral.