7 Common Cancer Screenings - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

7 Common Cancer Screenings

Early Detection Saves Lives

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. However, cancers can be more effectively treated and cured if caught early enough. Certain tests are designed to find cancer before it has a chance to grow and spread.

Here are seven screenings that can help catch cancer early or, in some cases, prevent it altogether.

Lung Cancer Screening

Crozer-Keystone Health System offers a Lung Screening Program using low-dose CT scans. The screening involves a painless non-invasive scan that takes about 20 seconds, once you have registered, changed clothing and are on the scanning table. There is no blood work or IV required. The scan captures detailed images of your lungs, which can reveal small lesions, an abnormal mass or nodule in your lungs.

Who Should Consider It? If you have a history of heavy smoking, currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between the ages of 55 and 80, you should have an annual lung cancer screening.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that allows the doctor to examine the entire length of the large intestine. The procedure uses a flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope to examine your bowel and identify polyps or other signs of colorectal cancer.

If doctors find any polyps during the procedure, they remove them, potentially stopping cancer before it can start. Should your doctor find polyps during your colonoscopy, you may need to have another one within five to 10 years since there’s a chance you could develop more polyps.

Who Should Consider It? Colorectal cancer is equally as common among men and women. More than 90 percent of all colorectal cancers are found in people who are 50 and older.

Skin Cancer Screening

It’s important to regularly inspect your skin for new spots or changes to existing moles and alert your doctor if you see anything you think may be abnormal. Ideally, you should give your skin a once over every month in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror.

But self-exams don’t replace a skin cancer screening by your doctor – your primary care physician and dermatologist are trained to carefully check your skin and pinpoint changes that could indicate the presence of skin cancer.

Who Should Consider It? Regular skin cancer screenings are especially important for people who have a higher risk of skin cancer, including people who’ve had skin cancer before, people with reduced immunity and people with a strong family history of skin cancer.

Prostate Exam

One man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, but some men are at a higher risk than others for developing the disease. Men 65 and older are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the risk is even higher if you have a father or brother with the disease. African- Americans and Asians living in the United States are also more likely to develop this type of cancer.

To detect and diagnose prostate cancer, Crozer-Keystone specialists may use a range of tests that examine the prostate and blood. These tests include a digital rectal exam, a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and transrectal ultrasound guide prostate biopsy.

Who Should Consider It? The American Cancer Society recommends that men who are over 50 years old are candidates for regular prostate screening (or as young as 40 years old if they are African American or have a family history of prostate cancer).

Mammogram

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the U.S. But screening has increased survival rates and sent the number of deaths into decline.

Crozer-Keystone now offers 3D tomosynthesis, also called 3D mammography. This new mammogram imaging technique reduces the limiting effects of breast background density that may hide or obscure small breast cancers. By examining the breast in thinner portions or “slices,” the radiologist is able to see small lesions more clearly. This allows for more accurate decisions regarding the need for recall mammograms or biopsy.

Who Should Consider It? When you begin regularly mammography screenings will depend on your medical and family history. Women with a higher risk or family history of breast cancer may want to begin regular screenings as early as age 40. Talk to your doctor about when to begin screenings.

Pap Test and HPV Screening

A woman’s best chance for preventing and detecting cervical cancer is through early detection. Regular pelvic exams with Pap test and HPV testing are the best way to find cervical cancers or cancer risk factors.

A Pap test, sometimes called a Pap smear, can detect not only cancerous cells, but also other cervical and vaginal abnormalities that may lead to cancer.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that causes anogenital diseases and is a major risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. There is no treatment for the virus itself, but early detection can make it easier to treat the conditions caused by HPV. You can also ask your doctor about your options for HPV vaccination.

Who Should Consider It? A woman should always consult with her doctor about when and how often a Pap test, pelvic examination and HPV screening should be performed.

Self-exams

When it comes to skin cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer and even colorectal cancer, you can play a role in catching it early. Be familiar with your body and bowel habits and get to know what’s normal for you. You can regularly check your skin, breasts, testicles and bowel movements for any unusual changes in between doctors’ visits. If you ever notice any changes in size, shape or color, new lumps or bumps, bleeding or pain, call your doctor who can take a closer look and run some tests.