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Smilow Screening & Prevention Program

August 23, 2023

The Smilow Screening & Prevention Program helps to increase access to and awareness of cancer screenings. Cancer screenings can identify concerns before symptoms occur, when they can be treated most easily. The team also helps people learn about making healthy choices to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

What is Cancer Screening?

Cancer screening is the use of medical tests to identify cancer prior to symptoms occurring. When cancer is identified at its earliest stage, it is more likely that patients will have better outcomes, require less intensive treatment, and experience fewer side effects. It is important to discuss screening options with a healthcare provider.

Who needs to have Cancer Screening Tests?

The Smilow Screening & Prevention Program offers many screening tests. If you have a regular healthcare provider, you should ask what tests are recommended for you. The decision to have a screening test should be made after a conversation with your healthcare provider about your specific needs and about the pros (benefits) and cons (consequences) of screening.

Who should be screened for Lung Cancer?

Individuals 50 years or older and who smoked the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years should be screened for lung cancer. The best way for patients to know if they should be screened for lung cancer is to come for a personalized lung cancer screening evaluation with one of our Lung Cancer Screening Coordinators. These experts will provide information so that patients can make an informed decision about having lung cancer screening.

Who should be screened for Colorectal Cancer?

• Adults, beginning at age 45 to age 75.

• Younger adults (≤ aged 45) with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps should discuss with their health care provider at what age to start screening.

There are different options for colorectal cancer screening. Your healthcare provider can help you to decide which type of colorectal cancer screening is right for you.

Who should be screened for Breast Cancer?

Women at average risk should be screened:

• Between ages 40 to 74 women should have breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) every two years.

• Screening should continue for women in good health and who are expected to live at least 10 more years.

• Women at higher risk for breast cancer may require use of different screening tests or a different schedule. These women should speak with their health care provider about which breast screening tests and how often breast screening is recommended.

All women should be familiar with the usual look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their healthcare provider right away— even if you have had a mammogram or are due for one soon.

Who should be screened for Prostate Cancer?

• Men should make an informed decision about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. Doctors at Smilow feel that all men regardless of their known risk factors should have an opportunity to have a baseline PSA (Prostate Screening Antibody level, a blood test) as this can help some men make an informed decision about future screening.

• Men at average risk: Starting at age 50 & expected to live at least 10 more years.

• Men at high-risk: Starting at age 45, including Black men and men with a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer ≤ age 65).

• Men with more than one fi rst-degree relative may be at even higher risk; it may be recommended that these men start screening at an earlier age.

• Men ≥ 69: Doctors at Smilow recommend an individualized approach to screening that takes into consideration general health and life expectancy. (Some professional organizations do not support screening men in this age group.)

Who should be screened for Cervical Cancer?

• Women should begin screening approximately three years after initially having intercourse but no later than 21 years old.

• Women ages 21 to 29 should have cervical screening with a pap test every 3 years.

• Women ages 30 to 65 years should have either a pap test every 3 years with a human papillomavirus test (HPV) every five years or have both the pap test and the HPV test every five years.

Who should be screened for Skin Cancer?

Everyone should perform monthly head-to-toe self-examination of their skin. Everyone, regardless of their risk for skin cancer, should protect themselves year-round with the use of sunscreen and protective clothing. Additionally, everyone should discuss if they need skin cancer screening by a dermatologist with a healthcare provider.

Who should be screened for Head and Neck Cancers?

• All adults.

• Individuals at high-risk for Head & Neck cancer include those with a history of squamous cell cancer and those with history of tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, betel nut consumption, and having multiple sexual partners.


Call the Screening and Prevention Program at (203) 200-3030 or email us at:

Submitted by Emily Montemerlo on July 23, 2018