An important part of preventing cancer, screening tests check healthy people for signs of cancer. With the appropriate cancer screening, you and your health care provider at Dignity Health can prevent or catch cancer early.
Using the latest tools, gynecologists at Dignity Health offer a wide range of cancer screenings in Sacramento and the surrounding areas. Find a Doctor near you and make an appointment today.
For many women, our experts recommend the following cancer screenings:
- Cervical cancer. This includes the Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test. Women between the ages of 21 and 29 usually need a Pap test every three years. Most women age 30 to 65 should have a combined Pap test/HPV test every five years.
- Skin cancer. All women should have all body surfaces examined during their annual checkup.
- Colon cancer. Beginning at age 50 (or sooner, if you have an increased risk), women should be screened for this cancer using colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, fecal screening tests, barium enema, or computed tomography (CT) of the colon.
- Breast cancer. Clinical breast exams, mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs are used to screen for breast cancer. Women should have a clinical breast exam every year. Mammogram screenings usually begin between ages 40 and 50. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, you may need additional screening.
Some women also need lung cancer and endometrial cancer screenings, depending on their personal risk factors and medical history.
What to Expect
Here is what you can expect during common cancer screenings with our care team at Dignity Health:
- Mammogram. During a mammogram, your breast is placed between two plastic plates. The plates move together to flatten (compress) the breast so X-rays can be taken to show the inside of the breast. You will feel pressure as your breast is compressed.
- Colonoscopy. About a day before a scheduled colonoscopy, you must take medication to help you empty your bowels. The day of the procedure, you will be given medication to help you relax deeply. During the exam, you’ll be positioned on your side, so the doctor can insert a scope (a small tube with a camera on the end) into your colon to examine the inside for polyps or signs of cancer.
- Pap test. You will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups. Your doctor will insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina to see your cervix. The provider then gently and painlessly collects cells from the surface of your cervix. The cell sample is sent to a lab to check for abnormal cells (cervical dysplasia) and signs of the HPV, the virus that causes most cervical cancers.
You will have your test results within about a week. If your results are abnormal, you may need additional tests or treatment. Rely on our women’s health team at Dignity Health to help you use the proper prevention tactics to stay healthy.
Dignity Health offers cancer screenings and prevention for women in the Sacramento region.