Published on March 01, 2016

Know the cancer screenings you need

Screening tests can find cancer even before you have symptoms. Talk to your doctor about which screenings you need—and when you might need them. Here are a few that experts commonly recommend.

Who? Screening When?


Prostate cancer Starting at age 50, men should talk to their doctors about the pros and cons of screening for prostate cancer. Men at high risk, including African American men and men with a family history of the disease, should have this discussion earlier, in their 40s.


Breast cancer

Starting at age 45, most women need to get mammograms.

Mercy Fitzgerald offers walk-in screening mammograms every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Physician prescription, insurance card and photo ID are required. For more information, call 610.237.2525.

Cervical cancer

Starting at age 21, women should have Pap tests.

At age 30, women should also consider adding testing for HPV (the human papillomavirus).

At age 65, women may opt to stop screening, depending on their medical history.

Both Men
and Women

Colorectal cancer Both men and women should start screenings for colorectal cancer at age 50. There are several options to choose from. Each method has its own benefits and risks. Also, some need to be repeated yearly, while others need to be done every 5 to 10 years. Talk to your doctor about which screening method is best for you.
Lung cancer

Annual lung cancer screening with low-dose CT is recommended for people who are 55 to 74 years old with no signs or symptoms of lung cancer; who smoke now or who quit within the last 15 years; and have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 pack years. (A pack year equals smoking 20 cigarettes every day for one year.)

Lung CT scans are available at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia. To make an appointment, call 610.237.2525.