Cancer screenings can help detect cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. These exams and procedures can find cancer before symptoms appear. Sometimes screenings can even stop cancer before it starts by finding and removing precancerous growths.
As part of our commitment to caring for your entire well-being, Dignity Health Central California offers a comprehensive range of screenings as part of our cancer care services. Find a Doctor who performs these lifesaving cancer screenings for women in Central California.
Breast Cancer Screening
As a part of your annual health checkup, your doctor will perform a clinical breast exam. This includes feeling your breasts and underarms for lumps and changes in texture. It also involves a visual inspection of these areas.
Beginning at age 40, doctors recommend a yearly mammogram for most women. Those who have an increased risk of breast cancer may need to start getting these tests even earlier. A mammogram uses X-rays to create images of the tissues inside your breasts. Sometimes ultrasound (sound waves) are used to make a more detailed image.
Take our quick online breast cancer risk assessment to help you take control of your breast health.
Endometrial Cancer Screening
For women with a higher risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer, doctors may recommend an annual biopsy of the lining of the uterus.
Risk factors for endometrial cancer include:
- Family history of endometrial cancer
- Use of estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy
- Previous radiation treatment to the pelvis
- Previous cancer of the breast or ovaries
Lung Cancer Screening
Women with a long history of smoking or who were heavy smokers in the past may want to consider an annual low-dose CT scan of the lungs starting at age 50. This X-ray image of your lungs can help your doctor find even small tumors. Most women can stop this screening at age 74, but ask your doctor what’s right for you.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Most women should have their first Pap smear for cervical cancer at age 21. Your age, risk factors, and medical history will determine how often you should have follow-up tests.
During this test, your doctor widens the vaginal canal by inserting a speculum. A cotton swab is inserted until it reaches the cervix. This swab collects a sample of cervical cells that is sent to a pathologist to look for precancerous and cancerous cells.
Colon Cancer Screening
Doctors recommend a colonoscopy for women every 10 years from ages 50 to 75. If you are at increased risk for colon cancer, you may need to start having this test earlier.
We want to do everything we can to keep to healthy. Talk to your Dignity Health Central California doctor about the risks and benefits of cancer screening exams to learn which ones may be right for you.