Catching Cancer Early
Offering screenings for various cancers at convenient locations.
Cancer Prevention and Screenings
Reducing your risk of cancer begins at home with a healthy lifestyle and continues at the provider’s office with other preventive measures, like certain vaccines and cancer screenings. Screenings can not only detect cancer in the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable, they can also help prevent certain cancers.
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Breast cancer screenings
Annual screening mammograms are recommended for women ages 40 and older. Your provider may recommend a different screening schedule if you’re at higher risk for breast cancer. Talk with your provider about the screening schedule that’s right for you.
Colon and rectal cancer screenings
Colon and rectal cancers combined are the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. However, colorectal cancer is largely preventable with regular screening and is treatable with early detection. It is recommended that colon cancer screenings begin at age 45, according to the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) and the American Cancer Society. There are certain risk factors — such as having a close relative who has had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer or you are African American or American Indian — that should also be taken into consideration when discussing this screening with your provider.
Screening tests for colorectal cancer include colonoscopies, stool tests (such as Cologuard®, FIT or gFOBT) and sigmoidoscopies. Speak with your provider about which test is right for you.
Cervical cancer screenings
Of gynecological cancers, only cervical cancer has screening tests. The Pap test improves your chances for prevention or successful treatment by detecting cell changes early. Based on guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, we recommend Pap tests for all women between ages 21 and 65.
The HPV test (commonly done during a routine pap smear) indirectly screens for cervical cancer by detecting the presence of the human papillomavirus. Certain strains of HPV can increase your risk for cervical cancer. The most recent guidelines indicate that the initial HPV vaccination should occur at ages 11-12.
Lung cancer screening
A Low-Dose Computerized Tomography (LDCT) scan for lung cancer may be recommended for men and women, ages 55 to 77, who currently smoke or quit less than 15 years ago or were heavy smokers (meaning 30 pack years, smoking one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years). A referral from a provider is needed for a LDCT screening of the lungs. Ask your primary care or family provider for more information and a referral.
Prostate cancer screenings
We offer screening for prostate cancer for men ages 55 years and older and those at high risk, particularly African American men after a discussion of the risks and benefits with your urologist or family provider. Experts may recommend these screening tests either individually or together:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) to physically examine the prostate gland
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that measures the level of PSA, a specific protein, in the blood
Skin cancer screenings
At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Cancer Care, we’re committed to improving the health of people throughout our local communities. That’s why we offer skin cancer screenings in several clinics. Ask your provider for more information about skin cancer screenings.
Talk with your primary care provider about any other cancer-related screenings you may need based on your individual and family health history.
Tips for cancer prevention
Although you can’t completely prevent cancer, you can reduce your risk. A healthy lifestyle plus regular cancer screenings for early detection give you the best odds for a cancer-free life.
For help to quit, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669. Available 24 hours a day.
Maintain a healthy weight
You may need to lose weight if you’re overweight. Schedule a class or program, or attend a scheduled event through the Franciscan Community Cancer Program by calling 253-426-6746.
Get regular exercise
Physical activity reduces your risk of developing cancer and other chronic or acute diseases. We offer several walking programs in the area.
Eat a healthy diet
Focus on eating more plants, including fruits and vegetables; legumes such as beans, peas and lentils; nuts and seeds; and whole grains. Limit high-fat animal foods, such as red meats and cheese. Find out how to put cancer prevention on your plate .
Get the vaccines and screenings you need
Get yourself and your family vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for girls between 13 and 26 and for boys between 13 and 21 who have not yet been vaccinated. Talk with your primary care provider about the cancer screening guidelines for your age and gender.
Find a specialist
Get in touch with a specialist who matches your needs.
For more information and to make an appointment, call 1-888-825-3227.
You can find screening locations across the Puget Sound area.
Cancers We Treat
Your Cancer Journey
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Research and Clinical Trials
> Cancer Prevention and Screenings
Colon and Rectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal Cancer Screening Risk Assessment
Lung Cancer Screening
Lung Cancer Screening Risk Assessment
Breast Cancer Screening Risk Assessment
Eat Well, Beat Cancer
Locations and Contact Information
Cancer Resource Center