The need for cancer screenings will increase as you get older. Screening differs from testing in that a screening is performed when someone is at risk for developing a disease, not when they exhibit symptoms. Once symptoms are present, diagnostic testing is performed.
Screening requirements are different for men and women, and will vary based on your age and any pre-existing conditions you have that may make you more susceptible to certain types of cancer. It is also important to determine if you may be at a higher than average risk for cancer due to your family history. By finding cancer early, you have the best chances of treating the condition before it spreads.
Types of Screenings
There are a wide range of cancer screenings available, some of which are more invasive than others. Talking to your doctor about your medical history and the need for certain tests is an important part of the cancer prevention and early detection. While there may be standard recommendations regarding screenings at certain ages, it is important to stay in close communication with your doctor regarding the need for earlier screenings if you are at an increased risk.
Some of the most common types of cancer screenings include:
- Breast cancer screenings – mammogram
- Colon cancer screenings – colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test
- Cervical cancer screenings – Pap tests and HPV tests
Screening Recommendations by Age & Gender*Males
- Ages 20-49, there are no standard recommendations
- Colon cancer testing should begin at age 50 and continue to age 75
- Ages 20-29, Pap tests every three years should begin at age 21
- Ages 30-39, Pap tests every three years and HPV tests every five years beginning at age 30
- Age 40-49, Pap tests every three years and HPV tests every five years
- Ages 50-56, Pap tests every three years and HPV tests every five years. Screening mammograms every two years. Colon cancer testing at age 50.
- Over 65, Pap tests every three years and HPV tests every five years, up to the age of 65. Screening mammograms every two years, until age 74. Colon cancer testing until age 75.
*Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Find BayCare Cancer Screenings Near You
BayCare offers a variety of cancer screenings, classes and events throughout the Tampa Bay area. You can also find a doctor to discuss the types of cancer screenings that are right for you. BayCare is proud to bring educational resources and healthcare services to members of the Tampa, Winter Haven, Riverview, Clearwater and St. Petersburg area communities.