Cancer Screening Tests
Screening options to find cancer early.
Cancer screenings are exams that are done when you're healthy. Many cancers can be treated successfully, or at least kept in check, if caught early enough. We offer a full range of screening tests to identify all types of cancer. Find out what screening tests are right for you based on the guidelines below and by talking with your doctor.
You will receive a breast exam during yearly check-ups with your primary care doctor. Let your doctor know immediately if you notice any changes or lumps in your breasts.
Unless there is a family history or additional personal risk for breast cancer, yearly mammograms should begin at age 40.
You can schedule a mammogram online, through MyChart or by phone:
- South Central Michigan Patients: To schedule a mammogram at one of our South Central Michigan locations, please call: (517) 205-4905
- Southeast Michigan Patients: To schedule a mammogram at one of our Southeast Michigan locations, please call: (800) 436-7936
- High-Risk Patients: If you are younger than 40 and/or at an increased risk for developing breast cancer, please call: (800) 436-7936
Learn more about breast cancer screenings.
Female cancers usually cause no symptoms or show vague symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. This makes screening tests especially important. Many times, women mistake them for symptoms of a digestive problem or another gynecological condition.
Women ages 21-39 should have a gynecological (also called a pelvic exam) exam every three years with a primary care provider or gynecologist. During the exam, there are four screening tests:
- Medical history to identify risk factors
- Physical exam
- Pelvic exam
- Pap test
A pap test and HPV (human papillomavirus) DNA test should be given every five years from age 30-65.
Doctors may suggest more frequent screenings for women with certain risk factors, such as:
- Genetic testing results
- History of DES (diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen) exposure
- HIV infection
- A weak immune system
Learn more about women’s gynecological screenings.
Contact your primary care doctor or gynecologist to schedule a gynecological exam.
Colon and Rectal
Starting at age 50, men and women should be checked for signs of colon cancer. Talk with your doctor about your personal and family history and what colon cancer screening schedule is best for you.
Screenings may include:
- Colonoscopy: Every 10 years
- Cologuard at-home test: Every three to four years for average-risk patients. With this non-invasive, DNA-based colorectal screening test, patients collect their stool in a kit provided by their physician and ship it to the lab for testing. Learn more about at-home colonoscopy alternatives.
- CT colonoscopy: Every five years
- Double-contract barium enema: Every five years
- Fecal occult blood test: Yearly
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: Every five years
If any test besides the colonoscopy comes back positive, a colonoscopy should be performed.
Learn more about colon and rectal cancer screenings.
If you are a current or former smoker, you’re at risk for lung cancer.
To be eligible for lung cancer screening, you must:
- Be 55-77
- Currently smoke, or have quit in the last 15 years
- Have smoked at least a pack a day for 30 years or more, or the equivalent (for example, you might have smoked two packs a day for 15 years)
If you are at risk and would like to schedule a lung screening, fill out our online form or call your physician’s office for help scheduling at appointment.
We follow the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations for prostate cancer screening. Men should make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
Learn more about prostate cancer screenings.
Contact your primary care doctor to schedule a prostate screening.
The Cancer Genetics Program provides genetic counseling and testing to people with a personal and/or family history of cancer. Although most cancers occur by chance, about 5-10 percent of cancer cases are hereditary, meaning they run in the family. The purpose of this program is to inform those people at risk for hereditary cancers so they can learn more about genetic testing, cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Everyone, no matter their age, should have regular checkups to identify risk factors and problems before they become serious. These exams should include health counseling and, depending on a person’s age and gender, exams for cancers of the:
About half of cancer deaths can be avoided with healthy lifestyle choices. Together with Henry Ford Health System, you can learn about the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy, and decrease your chances of getting cancer.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay active
Eat a healthy, balanced diet to prevent obesity and support a strong immune system. Both lower your risk for cancer. Henry Ford Health System has resources that can help you achieve these goals:
- Stay healthy as a family by following the 5-2-1-0 game plan.
- Attend classes at the Demonstration Kitchen (DK) in West Bloomfield, the ideal destination for both adults and children to explore healthy lifestyles and learn about the importance of nutrition for overall health and wellness. All of our healthy cooking classes are designed to educate people on the benefits of eating healthy and cooking fun, flavorful meals with tips that are easy to implement into everyday life.
- Visit our health and wellness blog, Henry Ford LiveWell, to learn more about how what you eat may affect your risk of cancer.
Stay active. Talk to your doctor about the types of exercise that are right for you. The Henry Ford Disease Prevention through Exercise and Education program (PREVENT) is a medically supervised exercise program that can help improve your health and fitness in a safe and supportive atmosphere. With many locations throughout Southeast Michigan, our trained clinical staff will provide you with:
- A personal fitness assessment by a clinical exercise physiologist
- An individualized exercise program
- Access to group exercise classes (e.g., chair aerobics, yoga, etc.) and nutrition classes
- Education on ways to make healthy lifestyle change
The Henry Ford Vita Wellness Center in West Bloomfield runs wellness classes like yoga that can help you stay fit regardless of ability level. Call (248) 325-3870 (Vita reception) for more information on classes, or register online.
Avoid all tobacco products
Smoking can increase your risk for many kinds of cancer. Our quit-tobacco programs are based on years of research and experience. They can provide the treatment needed to overcome physical, emotional, and social dependency on tobacco products, in either a group setting or a one-on-one phone consultation.
If you don't have insurance, or your insurance won't cover our tobacco cessation programs, the Michigan Tobacco Quitline provides proactive telephone-based counseling and, in some cases, nicotine patches.
Cigarettes are not the only type of tobacco that can cause cancer. Read more about how tobacco alternatives can increase your risk for cancer.
Protect your skin
Due to our long winters, Michigan residents need to be cautious about two specific risk factors for skin cancer -- low vitamin D levels and increased tanning bed use. Avoid using tanning beds, and talk to your doctor or dermatologist about how to avoid low vitamin D levels. When outside during more pleasant Michigan seasons, practice sun safety:
- Wear a hat. Skip the baseball cap and choose a hat with a 2- to 3-inch brim all the way around. Or select a shade cap with long fabric flaps.
- Choose and use sunscreens wisely. Select an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Try cream formulas for the face, and gels for hairy necks and exposed scalps, including bald spots and parts in your hair. Apply to exposed areas 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and again every two hours.
- Take cover. Avoid being outside too long between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest
Ask your primary care physician to perform a skin cancer check at all your regular check-ups. The American Academy of Dermatology has some great resources about protecting your skin from the sun and identifying skin cancer.
Contracting the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, can increase your risk of having cervical cancer in the future.
The HPV vaccine is approved for everyone ages 9 to 26. All children, including boys, should receive the vaccine prior to age 13.