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Cancer Screening

Cancer screening tests look for signs of cancer in the body, even before there are symptoms. If your provider recommends a cancer screening test for you or a loved one, you probably want to know more, like where to go and what to expect. Here’s information that may help. 

Cancer screening saves lives

In 2023 alone, almost 2 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer, according to estimates from the National Cancer Institute. This shows how common cancer is in the United States and why cancer screening matters. 

In most cases, catching cancer early makes it easier to treat. This is especially true for common types like breast, colon and lung cancer, which have better outcomes when found early. Cancer screening helps us do just that.

Different kinds of screening tests are used to look for different types of cancer. If your doctor recommended a certain type of test for you, it doesn’t mean you have cancer. It means it’s time to check you for cancer.  

Cancer screening at a glance

Who needs cancer screening?

Many cancer screenings are a normal part of your healthcare, depending on your age, gender and racial or ethnic background. For example, if you’re between ages 45 and 75, colon cancer screenings may be recommended. Or, if your biological sex is female, current guidelines recommend mammograms every two years starting at age 50.


Your provider may recommend screenings based on:

  • Family history

  • Weight

  • Tobacco use

  • Current symptoms

If you have a family history of breast cancer, your provider may suggest starting mammograms before you are 50.  If you are between 50 and 80 years old and have a history of smoking, lung cancer screening could be a wise choice. Your PeaceHealth care team will help you get the screenings that are right for you

What to expect at PeaceHealth

You don't have to go far for care you can trust. PeaceHealth uses advanced tools like 3D mammography and ultrasound-guided biopsies, so you can feel confident in the results, and get treatment sooner, if needed. 


Here are some of the tests available. We offer them along with a deeper level of caring for a better experience.


  • Physical exams: Your provider reviews your health history and checks your body for signs of cancer. For example, feeling for lumps in your neck as part of your checkup.

  • Lab tests: We take a small sample of your blood, urine, tissue (a group of similar cells) or other materials from inside your body. Your sample goes to our laboratory where it is checked for cancer. 

  • Imaging tests: There are several ways to take pictures of the inside of your body. A radiologist (doctor who specializes in medical imaging) will check the images to look for signs of cancer. For example, for a colonoscopy, a very small camera is inserted into the intestine to check for signs of cancer in your colon or rectum.

  • Genetic tests and counseling: Some kinds of cancer run in families. To find out if you are at risk for an inherited condition, we offer genetic testing and counseling. Talking about your family history is part of figuring out your risk. Testing can also include taking a small sample of cells from your blood or saliva to look for changes in your DNA. Understanding your genetic risk will help you make the best decisions for yourself and your health. 

Cancer screenings are just the start

PeaceHealth’s whole-person approach to cancer care includes access to advanced screening tests, but that isn’t all. From helping you with scheduling and transportation to financial aid, we are here to serve your needs. Depending on your situation, you may want to know more about our health and wellness classes, nutrition counseling, social workers or pastoral care. 


Next steps

For many cancer screenings, your first step is to reach out to your primary care provider. They can do many common tests. If you need specialized cancer care for additional diagnosis and treatment, they can refer you to a provider or cancer center near you.