It’s important to follow recommendations for cancer screening tests. Please note that the screenings recommended in the quiz results are based on the information you provided in your responses and may not be a complete representation of your overall health.

We recommend you always talk to your primary care provider to confirm which screenings are right for you and the best process to get them scheduled. If you do not have a primary care provider, click below to see a list of providers to choose from.

Learn about Cancer Screenings

Breast Cancer

Overall, women have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

Mammograms are used to find breast cancer early, before it causes any warning signs or symptoms, when the chances of long-term survival are highest.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol

We screen for breast cancer with routine mammograms, which use low energy X-rays to examine the breast tissue for masses or calcifications. An annual breast cancer screening is recommended for women age 40 and over. Depending on your level of risk, your doctor may recommend screening every 1-2 years.

Lung Cancer

A lung cancer screening is recommended in those with a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Find out your pack year.

The screening test used is a low-dose CT of the chest, a quick, noninvasive x-ray that visualizes the lungs. We recommend an annual routine screening from 50 to 80 years old for those at risk.

Cervical Cancer

A screening for cervical cancer is done via a pap smear. This screening is important because not only can it directly identify abnormal cells on the cervix, but it can detect the presence of HPV and assist doctors in knowing how frequently to repeat this screen. The pap smear is a quick and simple in office procedure performed by your PCP or OB/GYN and in five quick minutes it can save your life!

Roughly 1 in 123 American women will get cervical cancer, but cervical cancer is preventable. The biggest risk factors for cervical cancer are smoking and HPV (a common sexually transmitted infection). The age range for screening is 21-65 years old with repeat screening every three to five years. When caught early enough, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) is a very common cancer in the United States, with one in 25 women and one in 23 men developing it in their lifetime. The risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Low fiber diet
  • Limited fruit/vegetable intake
  • Diet high in processed meats

There are a few different options for colon cancer screening, such as:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Stool DNA Test (Cologuard)
  • FIT Test (fecal immunochemical test)

If the cancer is diagnosed at a localized stage, the survival rate is 91%. The recommended age to begin colon cancer screenings is 45. People who are in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75. For people ages 76 through 85, the decision to be screened should be based on a person’s preferences, life expectancy, overall health and prior screening history. The frequency of a colonoscopy depends on colonoscopy findings, but should occur every 5-10 years.

Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. The discussion about screening should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

After this discussion, men who want to be screened should get the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.

If no prostate cancer is found as a result of screening, the time between future screenings depends on the results of the PSA blood test:

  • Men who choose to be tested who have a PSA of less than 2.5 ng/mL may only need to be retested every 2 years.
  • Screening should be done yearly for men whose PSA level is 2.5 ng/mL or higher.

Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, men without symptoms of prostate cancer who do not have a 10-year life expectancy should not be offered testing since they are not likely to benefit. Overall health status, and not age alone, is important when making decisions about screening.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancers, basal cell and squamous cell, are the most common cancers in the world.  Most of the time, these skin cancers are caught early and are easily treated.  Melanoma skin cancers are less common but are more likely to spread and grow to other parts of your body.

People of color are at lower risk of developing skin cancer, but all skin types can develop skin cancer.  Additionally, skin cancers are often diagnosed in later stages in people of color.  So, it is important for people of all skin colors and types to perform skin self-exams. Although there are no specific guidelines from the American Cancer Society for how often to check your skin, performing monthly skin self-exams are generally advised by most healthcare providers. For people with fair skin, have a compromised immune system, have a personal history of skin cancers, or have a family history of skin cancers, it is very important for you to ask your healthcare provider how often you should be performing skin self-exams. The best news about skin self-exams is that all you need are your eyes and a mirror to complete the screening!

Perform the following steps in a well-lit room with a chair, a wall mirror, and a hand mirror. Look at your face, neck, chest, belly, and breasts (for women, lift each breast to look underneath).

  • Check your underarm areas, both arms, the tops and palms of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
  • For people of color, skin cancer often develops in areas of the body that do not receive much sunlight.
  • Sit down and check your thighs, shins, tops of your feet, in between your toes, and under your toenails.
  • Remain sitting and use a hand mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet, your calves, and the backs of your thighs.
  • Use the hand mirror to check your buttocks, genital area, lower and upper back, and the back of your neck and ears. Or it may be easier to look at your back in the wall mirror using a hand mirror.
  • Each time you get your hair cut, ask your barber or hairdresser to check your scalp for changing or new skin growths.

As you perform the skin self-exam, you will be looking for the following:

  • A new or changing growth on the skin
  • A non-healing sore
  • A rough or scaly red patch that may crust or bleed
  • A mole (or other spot on the skin) that’s new, or changing in size, shape, or color.
  • A mole that is larger than the end of a pencil eraser, or has an odd shape, irregular borders, or areas of different colors

If you find anything on your skin that has changed or that concerns you, report it to your healthcare provider immediately. 

Thyroid Cancer

Although thyroid cancer occurs in men and people of all races, it is most common in Caucasian women ages 35 to 49.  At Northeast Georgia Medical Center, there are around 125 new cases of thyroid cancer each year.

The American Cancer Society does not have any specific recommendations for thyroid cancer screenings, but most healthcare providers recommend monthly thyroid neck checks along with skin self-exams. 

There are several benign (non-cancerous) conditions that could cause your thyroid gland to be enlarged like goiter or nodules (cysts).  Any changes in the size of your thyroid gland should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. Early detection of thyroid conditions or cancer permits more options for treatment and potentially easier treatments.