• Cancer Screenings

  • Cancer screening involves looking for cancer in a person who may or may not have any symptoms. The goal of cancer screening is to find cancer early, when many cancers are more treatable. Fortunately, there are several cancers for which there are reliable screening and early detection approaches.
  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as the woman is in good health. The age at which a woman should start regular mammograms is also based upon her family history and physician recommendation. You should consult your physician to know when is right for you. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care provider. Beginning in their twenties, women should be conducting regular breast self-exams (BSE).
    Cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21. Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every three years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years. Women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results do not need to be tested. Women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing continues past age 65. A woman who has had her uterus removed for reasons not related to cervical cancer and who has no history of cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer should not be tested. A woman who has been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for her age group. 
    Beginning at age 50, both men and women should talk to their physician about having a colonoscopy screening. In most cases, colonoscopies should be conducted every 10 years. Some people should be screened using a different schedule because of their personal history or family history. Sometimes different screening tests are available. Talk with your doctor about your history and what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you.
    The American Cancer Society recommends that at the time of menopause, all women should be told about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer. Women should report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to their doctors. Because of history, some women may need to consider having a yearly endometrial biopsy. Please talk with your doctor about your history.

    Women who cannot afford annual mammograms may qualify to be served at the St. Mary-Corwin Breast Center through a special grant from the south eastern affiliate of the Susan G. Komen southeastern Colorado affiliate. For more information on mammogram screenings, call 719-557-5931 or 1-800-228-4039, extension 885931.

    The Women's Wellness Connection provides screenings for cervical cancer, breast exams and mammograms for women younger than age 65. For more information these screenings, call Southern Colorado Family Medicine 719-557-5855.

    Individuals who are at high risk of lung cancer due to cigarette smoking should follow American Cancer Society screening guidelines. You may be a candidate for screening if you are between the ages of 50 and 74, in fairly good health, have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history and are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years. A 20 pack-year smoking history means you smoked a pack a day for 20 years, or two packs a day for 10 years. Candidates must have a primary care physician of record. St. Mary-Corwin offers three screening options for qualified patients.

    • Lung screening clinic ($199 low dose CT scan)
    • SuperDimension - The specialized superDimension® navigational bronchoscope extends the reach of the bronchoscope to regions deep within the lung, enabling physicians to locate small lung lesions for diagnostic testing and potential treatment. The system uses natural airway access, minimizing the need for more invasive, surgical procedures to access lung lesions in the distant regions of the lung. One of the reasons the Dorcy Cancer Center uses the superDimension® is because it also provides the ability to detect lung disease and lung cancer earlier, even before symptoms are evident, enhancing treatment options for patients.
    All individuals should have a yearly physical examination of the head and neck and oropharynx (the middle section of the throat that includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils) conducted by their primary care physician, as well as a yearly routine dental evaluation to include examination of the neck and inspection of the oropharynx and the mouth.
    The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. The American Cancer Society believes that men should not be tested without learning about what we know and don’t know about the risks and possible benefits of testing and treatment. Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45. If men decide to be tested, they should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often they are tested will depend on their PSA level.
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