Recommended Cancer Screenings

Breast Cancer

  • Women ages 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam performed by a doctor every 3 years and perform a breast self-exam every month.
  • Women age 40 and older should have a clinical breast exam by a doctor every year, a mammogram every year, and should perform a breast self-exam every month.
  • Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors. Women at higher risk may need to be screened more often.

Colorectal Cancer

Beginning at age 50, have one of the following tests:

Tests that find polyps and cancer:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*

Tests that mainly find cancer:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year*
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA), how often uncertain*

*Colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive

Talk with your doctor about your personal risk for colorectal cancer, because people who are at a higher risk may to start testing at an earlier age.

Cervical Cancer

  • Women ages 21-29 should have a Pap test every 3 years
  • Women ages 30-65 should have a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years.
  • Women age 65 and older can stop testing if you have had regular normal test results.  If you have had a cervical pre-cancer, continue testing for 20 years after the diagnosis
  • If you have not had cervical cancer and your cervix has been removed, you do not need to be tested
  • Even if you have had the HPV vaccine, you need to follow the screening recommendations for your age group.

 Prostate Cancer

  • Men age 50 and older should talk with their doctor about the benefits and harms of testing with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA blood test can detect high levels of prostate-specific antigen. If your PSA is elevated, it may indicate the presence of cancer or an enlargement or inflammation of the prostate gland.
  • Men at higher risk (including African-Americans and those with a close family history of prostate cancer) should begin testing at 45.

Skin Cancer

Check your birthday suit on your birthday – if you notice anything that has changed or is new, see your doctor and have routine skin exams during regular health check-ups. *These are general guidelines. Discuss your personal schedule for screening exams with your primary care doctor. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women get a cancer-related check-up every three years between ages 20 to 40 and every year after that.