Cancer Screening Guide
You have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. Or you’re at “that age.” Or maybe you’re just wanting full control and knowledge of your health. There are a myriad of reasons why you may be ready for a cancer screening. This guide will help explain the common types, and when our providers recommend you get it done.
Screening tests are used to find cancer BEFORE a person has any symptoms. Regular cancer screenings are recommended as part of your routine visits, and can help find and treat pre-cancers early, before it spreads. With advanced technology and expert physicians, you can get your screening done right here in Hayward. So what types of cancer screenings are right for you?
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Frequency: Every 10 years.
Individuals with a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps may need screening at an earlier age. The same applies for patients with a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis).
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms: Polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum that can turn into cancer if not removed) and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important. Symptoms may include:
- A change in bowel habits.
- Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.
- Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
- Weight loss and you don’t know why.
What is colon cancer screening?
The gold standard for colon and rectal cancer screening is a colonoscopy. This is an outpatient procedure performed by a physician. If pre-cancerous polyps are found, the overwhelming majority can be removed while they are small before they ever become a problem.
There are other screening test available that are less invasive (such as Cologuard and other studies that test for blood). However, these are not as sensitive as a colonoscopy, and need to be done more frequently. Individuals who have a history of polyps, have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, have a family history of colon cancer, or who have any known gastrointestinal bleeding (such as hemorrhoids), should NOT have these tests, but should have a colonoscopy instead.
How to schedule your screening:
Colonoscopies are done by Dr. Lynn in the General Surgery department. A referral may be required. Call to schedule: 715-934-4850
Breast Cancer Screening
Age: Consult your primary care physician for the appropriate steps you should be taking. The age you should begin mammograms varies greatly, depending on your risk factors.
Women who are at high risk should begin screening at age 30. This includes women with a strong family history of breast cancer, those with a known BRCA gene mutation, those with a history of radiation therapy to the chest, and those with various cancer-related syndromes.
Frequency: Every year.
Breast Cancer Symptoms: People have varying symptoms for breast cancer. Some women do not have symptoms at all. But if you have any of the following warning signs, talk to your doctor:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
What is breast cancer screening?
For most women, this means a yearly mammogram. A mammogram is a low-radiation x-ray picture of the breast. Here in Hayward, we have an advanced 3D mammography machine, capable of detecting breast cancer up to 40% sooner than traditional equipment. For younger, high-risk individuals, a yearly MRI should be done in addition to mammography.
Even if you don’t have family history of breast cancer, you should still be screened. 8 out of 9 women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease at all, and early detection increases your chance of survival by a whopping 98%.
How to schedule your screening
Mammograms and MRIs are done by the Imaging department. A referral may be required. Call to schedule: 715-934-4237
Prostate Cancer Screening
*Men at high risk should start at age 45. 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). Those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age should start their screening at age 40.
**Men who are 70 years old and older should NOT be screened for prostate cancer routinely.
Frequency: Talk to your primary care provider for the solution right for you.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms: People have varying symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. But if you have any of the following warning signs, talk to your doctor:
- Difficulty starting urination.
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
- Urinating often, especially at night.
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely.
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
- Painful ejaculation.
What is prostate cancer screening?
A simple blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
Because many factors can affect PSA levels, your doctor is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. If the PSA test is abnormal, your doctor may recommend a biopsy to find out if you have prostate cancer. Older men are more likely to have false positive results.
Prostate cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men.
How to schedule your screening
Prostate Cancer Screenings are done by our lab department. A referral is required by your primary care provider.