CANCER SCREENING GUIDELINES
Knowledge Is Power
During your annual check-ups, talk to your health-care provider about necessary screenings and to determine if you’re at high risk of developing certain kinds of cancer. National recommendations can change based on the latest data so it’s important to check for updated information. In recent years, officials have changed screening recommendations for cervical and prostate cancers. The following advice is from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, composed of physicians and disease experts who develop screening recommendations based on the most recent research. Local resource: The New Mexico Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free screenings to eligible women. For more information, visit archive.cancernm.org/bcc/ or call 505-841-5860. Recommendations: Adolescents: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adolescents who are 11 or 12 years old get two shots of the HPV vaccine six to 12 months apart to protect against HPV (human papillomavirus), which can cause certain cancers and other diseases. Anyone age 26 and younger should be vaccinated. Breast: From age 50-74, women at average risk should get a mammogram every two years. Women age 40-49 should talk to their health-care provider about when to start mammograms, considering the benefits and risks of screening tests. Cervical: Starting at age 21, women should get a Pap test (looks for cell changes in the cervix) every three years. At age 30, women should get a Pap test or a HPV test (looks for the virus that causes cell changes) every three years or both Pap/HPV every five years. At age 65, women should talk to their provider about further screening. Colon: Start colon cancer testing at age 50 if you’re at average risk. People ages 76 to 85 should talk to their provider about whether they should be screened. Lung: Get yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography if you have a history of heavy smoking, and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between ages 55 and 80. Prostate, Ovarian, Testicular and Thyroid: Screenings for these cancers have not been shown to reduce deaths.