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Screening

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center nurse, Annette Schork gives the ins and outs of cancer screenings.

Routine tests like mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap tests can help find the earliest signs of cancer, when it is usually easiest to treat.

If you have a family history of cancer or other risk factors, your doctor may recommend that you start screening sooner.

National guidelines recommend the following screenings for people with an average risk of cancer.

Additionally, adults should regularly check their skin and other body parts, and contact your doctor if you notice lumps or other changes in your breasts, testicles, neck, or other parts of your body.

Ages 21-29

Cervical cancer: Screening every 3 years with a Pap test. Follow testing recommendations even if you've been vaccinated against HPV.

Ages 30-39

Cervical cancer: Screening every 3 years with a Pap test or every 5 years with an HPV test, or every 5 years with co-testing with both a Pap test and an HPV test. Follow testing recommendations even if you've been vaccinated against HPV.

Ages 40-49

Breast cancer: Mammograms can begin as early as age 40; discuss the pros and cons of screening with your doctor. Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 45.

Cervical cancer: Screening every 3 years with a Pap test or every 5 years with an HPV test, or every 5 years with co-testing with both a Pap test and an HPV test. Follow testing recommendations even if you've been vaccinated against HPV.

Colon cancer: Testing should begin at age 45. Test options include colonoscopy and less invasive stool tests.

Ages 50-65

Breast cancer: Mammograms should be done yearly from ages 50-54. Starting at age 55, your doctor can help you decide whether testing every year or every other year is best for you.

Cervical cancer: Screening every 3 years with a Pap test or every 5 years with an HPV test, or every 5 years with co-testing with both a Pap test and an HPV test. Follow testing recommendations even if you've been vaccinated against HPV.

Colon cancer: Testing should begin if it has not already.

Lung cancer: Annual testing with low-dose CT scans is recommended starting at age 50 for current and former smokers who have smoked an average of a pack a day for 20 years. Benefits, limitations, risks, and potential costs should be discussed with your doctor.

Prostate cancer: Discuss pros and cons testing options with your doctor starting at age 50.

Ages 65 and Over

Breast cancer: Your doctor can help you decide whether to get a mammogram every year or every other year.

Cervical cancer: No testing for is recommended if you’ve had normal test results over the previous 10 years.

Colon cancer: Testing is recommended through age 75. After 75, you should talk to your doctor about whether to continue testing.

Lung cancer: If you are a current or former smoker, talk to your doctor about testing with low-dose CT scans.

Prostate cancer: Overall health status is more important than age when discussing testing with your doctor.

Check out our Cancer Doesn’t Wait for COVID series:

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