Cancer prevention and screening
Depend on Montage Health for personalized preventive services, screening tests, and help to understand and lower your risk for cancer.
How to prevent cancer
Your primary care provider (PCP) can help you identify and lower your cancer risk. Make healthy lifestyle choices, including the following:
- Attend regular checkups with your PCP and get any recommended screening tests and vaccinations
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco products
- Be active and exercise
- Limit alcohol
- Eat a healthy diet by choosing plenty of fruits and vegetables and limiting processed meats
- Know your body and report any new symptoms or changes to your doctor
- Know and share your family history of cancer with your doctor
- Protect your skin by using sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds
- Reach and stay at a healthy weight
Services for healthy living
Protect yourself from cancer by taking part in our medical and wellness services, including:
Cancer screening tests
Screening tests check for signs of a health problem before you experience symptoms. Regular screenings help you catch cancer early, when it’s most treatable.
The screenings you need depend on your age, gender, family health history, and other factors. Your PCP will recommend and help you access the tests you need. Montage Health follows screening guidelines set by the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Breast cancer screenings
If you’re a woman, our team at the Carol Hatton Breast Care Center recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 to screen for breast cancer.
Cervical cancer screenings
A Pap smear checks a sample of cells from the cervix to check for signs of precancer or cancer. An HPV test looks for infection with HPV, a leading cause of cervical cancer.
Visit your female reproductive care provider to screen for precancerous cells or cervical cancer. The ACS recommends:
- Women between 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every three years
- Women between 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test every five years
If you’re over 65 and:
- You’ve had regular cervical cancer testing with normal results, you no longer need to be screened
- You have a history of cervical precancer, continue to get tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis
Colon and Rectal Cancer Screening
Starting at age 50, both men and women should begin receiving colorectal cancer screenings to look for precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) or cancer. You may have:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Fecal occult blood or fecal immunochemical test
Lung cancer screening
Most people don’t need screening tests for lung cancer. But if you’re at higher risk due to a history of smoking, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from a computed tomography (CT) lung scan.
Prostate cancer screening
If you’re a man, a prostate examination and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can help screen for prostate cancer. PSA testing measures the level of a certain protein in the blood. High levels may be a sign of prostate cancer or other prostate problems.
Start getting screened for prostate cancer when you are:
- 50 if your doctor says you have an average risk for prostate cancer
- 40 if you have a family history of prostate cancer
Your screening test results
Ask our staff when and how you’ll receive your test results. Based on the results, your care team may recommend one or more additional tests to rule out or diagnose cancer.
Genetic testing for cancer
Genetic testing can look for inherited genes (passed down by family members) linked to a higher risk of cancer. Genetic analysis can help you understand your cancer risk, so you can take steps to:
- Prevent cancer from developing
- Catch cancer as early as possible, when it’s most treatable
- Protect your family members by encouraging them to get tested
Based on your genetic test results, your doctor may recommend getting cancer screening tests earlier or more often than the general population.
Is cancer genetic testing right for me?
Ask your doctor if you meet the criteria for genetic testing, which include:
- Personal history of cancer
- Family member with a history of cancer under age 50
- Multiple family members with cancer
With support from Community Hospital, a Monterey doctor started Project DNA, a nonprofit organization to:
- Educate doctors and our community about screening for inherited cancers
- Screen people who are at higher risk for inherited cancers
Learn more about Project DNA on their website and use their Smart Tools questionnaire to determine if you may benefit from testing.