Cancer Screening Recommendations

Guidelines are based on national recommendations.

Sharp has developed these cancer prevention guidelines to help our patients understand what screenings are needed and at what age. These are general guidelines based on recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Forces, the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians and other leading experts. 

Keep in mind that these recommendations are for healthy adults who do not have symptoms or other risk factors, and therefore it is important to consult with your physician regarding your personal medical history and risk factors to determine what screenings are right for you.

Combined with a healthy lifestyle and regular self-examination, cancer screenings are an important tool in the prevention and detection of cancer. Because cancer is most treatable in its beginning stages, early detection can considerably increase one's chances of survival. That's why Sharp encourages everyone to learn more about the importance of cancer screenings and prevention.

Screenings to Be Performed by a Medical Provider

Type of Cancer

Test or Exam 

Gender

Age

Frequency

Breast Cancer Clinical Breast Exam Female 40-69 Initial examination should be given with history and physical at age 40 and then every year thereafter depending on risk factors.
         70 and over Beginning at age 70, a clinical breast examination should be given based on physician recommendation.
   Mammogram Female  40-69 Initial examination should be given with history and physical at age 40 and then every year after depending on risk factors.
          70 and over Beginning at age 70, a mammogram should be given based on physician recommendation.
Cervical Cancer Pap Smear Female Over 21 or at onset of sexual activity Initial examination should be given with history and physical at age 21 or onset of sexual activity and then every 1 to 3 years thereafter.
         Over 65 After age 65, a Pap smear should be given based on physician recommendation.
  Bimanual Examination (Ovaries & Uterus) Female Over 18 or at onset of sexual activity An initial examination should be done with history and physical at age 18 and then every 1 to 3 years thereafter.
      Over 40 Beginning at age 40, an examination should be done yearly.
Colorectal Cancer Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Female/Male Over 50 Initial examination should be given at age 50 and then every 5 years thereafter.
  Hemoccult Female/Male Over 50 An initial examination should be done with history and physical at age 50 and then every year thereafter.
Prostate Cancer Prostate Examination Male  50 to 70

An initial examination should be done with history and physical at age 50 and then every year thereafter.

Depending on the patient's risk factors, a prostate antigen test may also be recommended.

Many of these screenings can be done during a regular office visit and don't necessarily have to be done in conjunction with a history and physical. If you have concerns, ask your doctor if these screenings can be performed during your next office visit.

Self-Examinations
In addition to the cancer screenings above, Sharp recommends that all patients perform routine breast, oral cavity, skin and testicular self-examinations periodically as advised by their physician.

How to Use the Guidelines
Theses clinical guidelines are designed to assist clinicians in the evaluation and treatment of the more common medical problems. They are not intended to replace clinical judgment or establish a protocol for all patients. The clinical approach described by these guidelines will not fit all patients and will rarely establish the only appropriate approach to a problem.

Find a San Diego Oncologist
For more information about cancer services at Sharp HealthCare or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.