Guidelines for Screenings

The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers urges everyone to schedule annual doctor visits and have all necessary cancer screenings conducted to find cancers early, which leads to better treatment outcomes.

With screening schedules varying by an individual’s age, health history and other facts, it can be a challenge to figure out when one needs to get screenings. Comprehensive encourages everyone to get familiar with annual guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society, as they can change from time to time.

Basic and Standard Cancer Screening Guidelines

While screenings should be scheduled under the guidance of one’s personal physician, the following 2021 American Cancer Society guidelines offer a basic understanding that people can use during doctor consultations to get conversations about getting annual tests started.

Age 25–39 Screening Recommendations

  • Cervical cancer screening recommended for people with a cervix beginning at age 25.

Age 40–49 Screening Recommendations

  • Breast cancer screening recommended beginning at age 45, with the option to begin at age 40.
  • Cervical cancer screening recommended for people with a cervix.
  • Colorectal cancer screening recommended for everyone beginning at age 45.
  • At age 45, African Americans should discuss prostate cancer screening with a doctor.

Age 50+ Screening Recommendations

  • Breast cancer screening recommended.
  • Cervical cancer screening recommended.
  • Colorectal cancer screening recommended.
  • People who currently smoke or formerly smoked should discuss lung cancer screening with a doctor.
  • Discussing prostate cancer screening with a doctor recommended.

As noted, while these guidelines can help get you started, Comprehensive Cancer encourages everyone to talk to their doctors to see if any other health factors may necessitate different scheduling for these tests. Additionally, don’t just keep this information to yourself. Share the timeline with family and friends, as doing so just might save a life.

Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Cancer Screenings

Now that you have a general idea about when to get screened, it’s a good idea to learn more about why these screenings are necessary, how to pay for them, where to get them, and how to start conversations with your doctors about these tests.

I’m healthy. Why do I need to get screened?

Screenings for cancer aren’t like other illness detection processes people are used to, such as having a temperature taken with a thermometer for a fever, or having an X-ray done for a broken bone. Screenings for cancer are done to find the disease ideally before it presents with noticeable symptoms. When successful, test often catch problems in healthy people with absolutely no symptoms. Regular screenings help build a foundation of knowledge that can be used in later tests to detect patterns when doctors see changes occur.

I don’t know if I can pay for the tests I need. How much does a cancer screening cost?

If you have health insurance, be sure to ask your primary care doctor about what your coverage allows. As tests based on approved and widely recognized guidelines, most tests needed should be covered. There could be costs for follow-up appointments and additional tests if required, but most test results are usually normal with no further testing necessary.

What if I don’t have insurance?

If you are uninsured, reach out to Southern Nevada’s local health department for more information on programs for the uninsured.

I have no idea where I should go to get screened.

If you need to get screenings, outside of what your primary care doctor provides during your appointment, they will refer you to a specialist who will set that up for you. You may need to go to a specialty surgery center, but the physician specialist you’re referred to will help set that up, which includes providing addresses and other information about where you’ll go and what you’ll need to do when tested.

I don’t have a doctor I see regularly, so who can help me get screened?

If you’re insured, work with your insurance company to get started. They’ll set you up with options for physicians who are approved for your plan. Once you see that physician, they’ll get you started on the screening schedule that’s right for your individual needs. And be sure to see them once a year to keep your health on track.

Don’t Stress Out and Get Your Cancer Screenings

Many people don’t want to get screened out of fear of finding something bad. While that can happen, it’s best to know about potential problems as soon as possible. And if you haven’t been screened in a long time, don’t worry about it. This happens often and doctors understand that this is a part of life. They’re not there to judge you, but to help you take care of yourself.

Comprehensive Cancer encourages you to keep getting your screenings, or to get the screening process going today. Doing this can potentially lengthen or even save your life. And always, we encourage everyone who’s informed about testing to spread the word among family and friends. Just a few words of advice may save a life of a friend or loved one.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, breast surgery and world-class clinical research and immunotherapy.  To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.


The content in this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.