From Robert B. Barriger, MD, Radiation Oncologist with OHC

December 27, 2018

At OHC, we know that getting the right screening test at the right time is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Screenings find diseases early, before you have symptoms, when they’re easier to treat. The tests you need are based on your age and risk factors. We can help you determine which screenings are best for you.

Because these tests are considered preventive, many insurance plans cover them. But while they’re vital for your health, they can also be costly, so check with your insurance company before making appointments. You can also check to see if any organizations offer any of these tests for free.

The best thing to do is to talk with your OHC doctor to determine which screenings you should have and how often. You can do this during a visit or call OHC at 1-888-649-4800. Here are some of the most common cancer screenings:


Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate cancer screening has been the subject of controversy recently, but many experts say men should still be tested. The primary method of screening is a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test to measure the level of PSA in your blood.

Testicular Cancer

The American Cancer Society recommends that all men have a testicular exam when they see a doctor during their routine physical.


Pap Smears

Beginning at age 21 and until age 65, you should have a Pap smear every three years, says the United States Preventive Services Task Force. A Pap smear tests for cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer. If you’re 30 or older, you can have the test every five years if you combine it with a screen for HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer.


The most recent guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend that starting at age 50 women should have a mammogram every two years. The American Cancer Society, however, says that women should start annual screenings at age 45, and can then switch to a biannual mammogram at age 55.


Colon Cancer Screening

The majority of colon cancers slowly develop from colon polyps: growths on the inner surface of the colon. After cancer develops, it can invade or spread to other parts of the body. The way to prevent colon cancer is to find and remove polyps before they turn cancerous. Colon cancer screenings should start at age 50, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force.

Skin Cancer

The American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend regular skin self-exams to check for any changes in marks on your skin including shape, color, and size. A skin exam by a dermatologist or other health professional should be part of a routine checkup. Regular skin checks by a doctor are important for people who have already had skin cancer. If you are checking your skin and find a worrisome change, tell your doctor.

HPV Vaccine

This vaccine is for protection from most of the cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus that spreads between people when they have sexual contact with another person. About 14 million people become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women. CDC now recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine-rather than the previously recommended three doses-to protect against cancers caused by HPV. The second dose should be given 6-12 months after the first dose.

For more information about annual screening, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit OHC has been fighting cancer for more than three decades. At its heart, our approach to cancer care is simple – to surround you with everything you need so you can focus on what matters most: beating cancer.

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