Women’s Cancer Screening
The providers at FHPIM follow the guidelines provided by the American Cancer Society, U.S. Preventative Task Force, and the American College of Gynecology. We strongly recommend women schedule an annual exam to evaluate and discuss their risk and screening with our office. During your annual exam, we will focus on health counseling for prevention and tests for early detection of cancers. We will strongly recommend our patients adopt a healthy lifestyle as below:
- Stay away from tobacco.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Get moving with regular physical activity.
- Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
- Protect your skin.
- Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
- Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
- Women over 40 years of age should have an annual mammogram and continue them as long as they are in good health.
- Some women who carry the BRACA gene should be screened with an MRI.
- Beginning at age 50, both men and women should have a colonoscopy.
- Cervical cancer screening (testing) should begin at age 21. Women under age 21 should not be tested.
- Women between ages 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. Now there is also a test called the HPV test. HPV testing should not be used in this age group unless it is needed after an abnormal Pap test result.
- Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.
- Women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results should not be tested for cervical cancer. Once testing is stopped, it should not be started again. 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 (and also her cervix) 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.
Endometrial (uterine) cancer
Post-menopausal women should report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to their doctors. An endometrial biopsy may be indicated to rule out endometrial cancer.
Recent studies suggest that in high risk patients a low dose CT of the chest may help in early detection of lung cancers. If you meet all of the following criteria then you might be a candidate for screening:
- 55 to 74 years of age
- Have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history AND are either still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years