© 2017-2020 by SC Witness Project. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook App Icon
  • YouTube App Icon

RESOURCES

EARLY DETECTION AND SCREENING
RESOURCE SHEETS

The American Cancer Society recommends the following breast and cervical cancer screening guidelines. Screening tests are used to find cancer before a person has any symptoms.

Breast cancer

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.

  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.

  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

  • All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.


Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. (The number of women who fall into this category is very small.) Talk with a health care provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.

Cervical Cancer

  • Cervical cancer testing should start at age 21. Women under age 21 should not be tested.

  • Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap test done every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used in this age group unless it’s needed after an abnormal Pap test result.

  • Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) done every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it’s OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.

  • Women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing in the past 10 years with normal results should not be tested for cervical cancer. Once testing is stopped, it should not be started again. Women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing goes past age 65.

  • A woman who has had her uterus and cervix removed (a total hysterectomy) for reasons not related to cervical cancer and who has no history of cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer should not be tested.

  • All women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for their age groups.

 

Some women – because of their health history (HIV infection, organ transplant, DES exposure, etc.) – may need a different screening schedule for cervical cancer. Talk to a health care provider about your history.

© 2017 American Cancer Society