The American Cancer Society recommends the following test schedule if you have normal risk for these cancers; if you’re at high risk – meaning you have precancerous conditions or a family history of cancer – talk to your doctor about more frequent testing.
• Self-exam monthly for women age 20 and over.
• Clinical examination for women ages 20 to 40, every 3 years; over age 40, every year.
• Mammography for women age 40 and over, every year.
Colon and Rectum
Beginning at age 50, both men and women at normal risk should follow one of these five testing schedules:
• Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT).
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years.
• Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years.
• Colonoscopy every 10 years.
All positive tests should be followed up with colonoscopy.
Women have a Pap test and pelvic examination every year; after three or more consecutive normal annual exams, you might be able to skip a year with your doctor’s permission.
Men 50 and older should have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE) annually.