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 change based on the latest research so it’s important to check for updated information.

We publish recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, composed of physicians and disease experts who study the latest research. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follows the task force’s recommendations.


Adolescents: The CDC 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.

Cervical: Starting at age 30, women should get a Pap test every three years, or an HPV test (looks for the virus that causes cell changes) every five years or both Pap/HPV combined every five years.

Colon: Start colon cancer testing at age 45 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 50 and 80.

Prostate, Ovarian, Testicular and Thyroid: Screenings for these cancers have not been shown to reduce deaths.

Local resource:

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free screenings and diagnostic services statewide. You may be eligible if you have little or no health insurance, a low income and are a woman (including transgender woman), transgender man, a gender non-binary person, or an intersex person. For more information, visit nmhealth.org/about/ phd/pchb/bcc/ or call 1-833-525-1811.

Knowledge Is Power





Santa Fe New Mexican