Last Revised: 05/03/2013
The American Cancer Society recommends these screening guidelines for most adults.
Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRI in addition to mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is small: less than 2% of all the women in the US.) Talk with your doctor about your history and whether you should have additional tests at an earlier age.
For more information, call the American Cancer Society and ask for our document called Breast Cancer: Early Detection.
Beginning at age 50, both men and women should follow one of these testing schedules:
The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.
Some people should be screened using a different schedule because of their personal history or family history. Talk with your doctor about your history and what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you.
For more information on colorectal cancer screening, please call the American Cancer Society and ask for our document called Colorectal Cancer: Early Detection.
Some women – because of their health history – may need to have a different screening schedule for cervical cancer.
Please see our document called Cervical Cancer: Prevention and Early Detection for more information.
The American Cancer Society recommends that at the time of menopause, all women should be told about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer. Women should report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to their doctors.
Some women – because of their history – may need to consider having a yearly endometrial biopsy. Please talk with your doctor about your history.
See our document called Endometrial Cancer for more information.
The American Cancer Society does not recommend tests to screen for lung cancer in people who are at average risk of this disease. However, the ACS does have screening guidelines for individuals who are at high risk of lung cancer due to cigarette smoking. If you meet all of the following criteria then you might be a candidate for screening:
For more information on the lung cancer screening guidelines, please see our document Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. The American Cancer Society believes that men should not be tested without learning about what we know and don’t know about the risks and possible benefits of testing and treatment.
Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45. If men decide to be tested, they should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often they are tested will depend on their PSA level.
For more information, please see our document called Prostate Cancer: Early Detection.
For people aged 20 or older having periodic health exams, a cancer-related check-up should include health counseling and, depending on a person’s age and gender, exams for cancers of the thyroid, oral cavity, skin, lymph nodes, testes, and ovaries, as well as for some non-malignant (non-cancerous) diseases.
Levin B, Lieberman DA, McFarland, et al. Screening and Surveillance for the Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer and Adenomatous Polyps, 2008: A Joint Guideline from the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology. CA Cancer J Clin. 2008;58.
Saslow D, Boetes C, Burke W, et al for the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Advisory Group. American Cancer Society guidelines for breast screening with MRI as an adjunct to mammography. CA Cancer J Clin. 2007;57:75-89.
Saslow D, Solomon D, Lawson H, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology Screening Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012 May-Jun;62(3):147-72. Epub 2012 Mar 14.
Smith RA, Brooks D, Cokkinides V, Salsow D, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in the United States, 2013: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines, current issues in cancer screening, and new guidance on cervical cancer screening and lung cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin 2013, Mar-Apr;63:87-105. Accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21174/full on April 23, 2013.
Wender R, Fontham E, Barrera E, et al. American Cancer Society lung cancer screening guidelines: CA Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2013 Jan 11 [Epub ahead of print].