Cancer Screenings

Stay Up to Date on Your Cancer Screenings

Protect yourself from cancer by reducing your risk. Avoid using tobacco, maintain a healthy weight with a balanced diet and exercise and use sunscreen. Finding cancer in the early and most treatable stages is another important step.

Testing recommendations vary according to your age, gender, family medical history and personal medical history. The lists below outline screening guidelines for men and women by age. Be sure to schedule your recommended tests and, if you have any questions, speak with your primary care doctor who will have further insight on screenings specific to your personal health and provide you with any prescriptions required for testing.

Cancer Screenings

Cancer Screenings for Women

Under 45

  • Breast cancer screenings, or mammograms, may be recommended for some women who have a family or medical history that increases their risk for developing breast cancer. Speak with your doctor about when you should begin screening
  • Pap tests, also known as pap smears, detect cervical cancer and are recommended starting at 21 years of age. Women between the ages of 21 -29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. At age 30, the test should be done every 5 years when done with an HPV test, or every 3 years if having the Pap test alone.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings can begin for women under 45 if you have a strong history of colon cancer or polyps, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps. A colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing can test for colorectal cancer. Speak to your doctor about what is right for you.
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 45 – 54

  • Annual mammograms should start at age 45.
  • A Pap test and HPV test for cervical cancer should be done every 5 years, or every 3 years with the Pap test alone.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing should begin in this age range. This test may be done every 10 years, more frequently for those with a history of polyps
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 55 – 64

  • Starting at age 55, a mammogram can be done every two years, or you can continue to have a mammogram annually.
  • A Pap test and HPV test for cervical cancer should be done every 5 years, or every 3 years with the Pap test alone.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing should begin. This test may be done every 10 years or more frequently for those with a history of polyps.
  • Lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scanning should be performed annually on adults 55 – 80 years old who have a 30-pack a year smoking history, currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 65+

  • Have a mammogram to test for breast cancer every one to two years, depending on your individual risk factors.
  • Cervical cancer screenings are no longer needed if you have had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results during the previous 10 years.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing until 75 years of age. Some individuals may still need periodic screenings until age 85.
  • Lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scanning should be performed annually on adults 55 – 80 years old who have a 30-pack a year smoking history, currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
  • Ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Cancer Screenings for Men

Under 45

  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing should be done if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 45 - 54

  • Discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor starting at age 45 if you have a higher than average risk of developing the disease. High-risk individuals include men with close family members (father, brother, son) who had prostate cancer before 65 years of age and African-American men. Screening includes a blood test for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein made by the prostate gland. At age 50, discuss the pros and cons of PSA testing with your doctor.
  • At age 45, colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing should begin. This test may be done every 10 years or more frequently for those with a history of polyps.
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 55 - 64

  • Discuss the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening with PSA testing with your doctor.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, stool blood or DNA testing should continue. This test may be done every 10 years or more frequently for those with a history of polyps.
  • Lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scanning should be performed annually adults on 55 – 80 years old who have a 30-pack a year smoking history, currently smoke or have quit smoking in the last 15 years.
  • If you have a family history of skin cancer or suspicious/abnormal moles, ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

Ages 65+

  • Discuss prostate cancer screening with your physician.
  • Colorectal cancer screenings with colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy or stool blood or DNA testing should continue until age 75. Some may still need periodic screening until 85, depending on personal or family history.
  • Ask your doctor if you should have periodic full-body checks with a dermatologist.

The Cancer Program at Mountainside Medical Center

An Affiliate of John Theurer Cancer Center

The Cancer Center at Mountainside Medical Center has established an affiliate agreement with John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center, one of only 16 cancer center consortia in the U.S. approved by the National Cancer Institute, a partnership that will enhance care in North Jersey.

Learn more about the partnership here

To schedule your screening, please call the Central Scheduling office at 877-523-7787.

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