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Smilow Screening & Prevention Program

The Smilow Screening & Prevention Program brings together doctors and researchers at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center who are focused on merging the best science with the best cancer prevention and screening programs. Our goal is to provide patients in Connecticut with the tools they need to stay healthy. It is easier than you think!

What is Cancer?

Cancer refers to a group of diseases that share a common characteristic: the loss of cell growth control. Cancer cells behave differently from healthy cells, and can cause many serious health problems for the patient. Cancer has many forms and affects patients in many different ways. Cancers can arise from any organ or body tissue. Cancer growth is composed of tiny cells that have lost the ability to stop growing. In most cases, cancer is not caught until a patient has signs and symptoms and seeks help for his/her symptoms. When a cancer is in its earliest stage, before signs or symptoms arise, it is most amenable to treatment, providing the best chances for cure.

Why do Cancer Cells lose Growth Control?

Cells grow abnormally because the damaged genes have lost their ability to control cell growth and perform their intended role in the body. We do not always know what is responsible for these malfunctioning genes. However, it has proven that factors such as smoking or excessive alcohol use are associated with the development of several types of cancer.

What is Cancer Screening?

Cancer Screening is the use of clinical tests to detect cancer at its earliest stage before there are signs and symptoms of the cancer. Currently, effective screening tests do not exist for every type of cancer. However, there are tests to screen for several of the most common cancers and for cancers associated with the highest death rates. Medical science has developed many safe and effective screening tests. For example, there are mammograms to detect early stage breast cancer and colonoscopy to detect early stage colon cancer.

Cancer Screening is not always so straightforward. There may be decisions about when to perform screening and about the most appropriate tools to use for each person. You should speak with your doctor or medical care provider help you make decisions about screening and what is best for you.

The Smilow Screening and Prevention Program engages physicians, nurses, social workers, healthcare administrators, and Community Health Educators in a coordinated effort to both identify cancer in its earliest stage and to educate, encourage, and reinforce behaviors that can prevent cancer from occurring. We will also assess if you are at risk for an inherited cancer syndrome and recommend the appropriate tests to find out if actually you do have a genetic predisposition that causes cancer. If so, we will discuss the best plan prevent cancer or detect cancer development as early as possible.

Who should be Screened for Cancer?

There are many individual and general risk factors for developing cancers. The best way to determine if you should be screened and which screening tests are right for you is to talk to your doctor about your health and your personal risk factors for cancer. Some tests are specific to your gender, some specific to your family history, and some related to your health related behaviors. Together with your physician or health care provider, you will identify what is right for you.

There are many individual and general risk factors for developing cancers. The best way to determine if you should be screened and which screening tests are right for you is to talk to your doctor about your health and your personal risk factors for cancer. Some tests are specific to your gender, some specific to your family history, and some related to your health related behaviors. Together with your physician or health care provider, you will identify what is right for you.

What Contributes to Someone’s Risk Factors for Cancer?

Risk factors for cancer vary from person to person. They might be due to exposures that occur throughout a person’s life; e.g. smoking, pesticides, alcohol, a poor diet, or other chemicals. They may also be related to a familial risk for a specific cancer; e.g. certain breast cancers or some colorectal cancers. Age is probably is the most common risk factor. As people get older, the likelihood of developing cancer rises.


Contact Us

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (203) 200-LUNG or email screening@ynhh.org