Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, but early detection is key to identifying early-stage cancer and treating it in a timely manner. The key to early detection is to participate in routine cancer screenings, which can detect signs of cancer before you even realize you have it.
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Talk to your primary care physician about whether routine cancer screening is right for you, as a referral is typically needed for screening. At St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, early detection is a priority and we offer the following services:
Breast Cancer Detection
One out of eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. That's why breast exams are such an important aid in early detection, especially for women over 35. A mammography exam can detect a tumor long before you can feel it. Such early detection of breast cancer can save your life. It can also give you an opportunity to choose between treatment options.
Mammogram and breast examination guidelines:
If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, you should perform a breast self-examination every month and have a breast examination by a physician every three years
If you are between the ages of 30 and 35 and have a strong family history of breast cancer, you should have a mammogram
If you are 35 or over, a baseline mammogram should be done for later comparison
By age 40, you should do a breast self-examination every month, have a breast exam by a physician, and a mammogram every year
After age 50, you should continue your breast self-examination every month, and have a physician breast exam and mammogram every year
Who's at risk for breast cancer?
Because breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, every woman should consider herself at risk. However, the following factors put you at higher risk for breast cancer:
Over 50 years old
Previous breast cancer or benign breast disease
Family history of breast cancer (especially maternal)
Colorectal cancer is third most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.
Regular screening can improve and save lives. Studies have shown that there is a 91% 5-year survival rate if colorectal cancer is detected early. In late 2020, the American Cancer Society recently changed their recommendation for screening to begin at age 45 – a practice that we have been following at the SMG Digestive Disease Center at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.
Screening is conducted through a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are conducted by the GI team at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. To request a colonoscopy, speak with your PCP or request a consultation here.
Lung Cancer Detection
Low-dose screening CT for lung cancer has been proven to reduce mortality from lung cancer based on randomized clinical trials. For people at high risk for lung cancer, the benefits of receiving such a screening dramatically outweigh the risks of not having the screening, especially if lung cancer is detected. Early detection may provide an opportunity for cure if lung cancer is found. Enrollment in this program is a commitment to at least two years of screening studies for at least a total of three low-dose CT scans.
Patients who meet the following criteria are eligible for an annual low-dose CT scan (LDCT) to screen for lung cancer:
A current smoker or have quit smoking within the past 15 years
Have a tobacco smoking history of 30+ pack years (a “pack year” is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day by the number of years a person has smoked)
Between the ages of 55-77
Have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer and no major medical issues that would prevent having a cancer work-up and treatments if discovered during screening