Screening programs

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Early detection can help beat cancer

The ETMC Cancer Institute fights cancer before it’s ever diagnosed through education and prevention programs like KnowledgeFirst forums and BRCA genetic mutation testing. We also offer advanced screening and technology at our facilities in Tyler and Athens to help detect and diagnose cancer at its earliest, more treatable and curable stages.

Many cancer screenings are a part of regular health checkups and should include a physical exam, medical or lab testing and radiologic exams. These screenings are important as they can help identify new or existing medical conditions or diseases that can lead to cancer, reveal more about potential risk factors for certain types of cancer and, ultimately, help you track your health.

While regular health checkups are an important part of the cancer screening process, there are also a number of specific screening programs in place to help identify cancer.

Breast cancer screening programs

Early detection of breast cancer saves lives, and a mammography is the best tool to help aid in early diagnosis. Women should begin examining themselves at age 20, and a baseline mammogram should be conducted between age 35 and 40. Starting at age 40, the American Cancer Society and others recommend that an annual mammogram screening takes place even if there are no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.

At our ETMC Breast Centers, we screen for breast cancer using digital mammograms, and our mobile mammography unit brings the same advanced screening options throughout the region to women who can’t easily access our facilities. These mammograms use noninvasive X-ray technology to target each breast and produce images that our staff can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas.

Learn more about breast cancer

Colorectal cancer screening programs

Nearly 50,000 Americans die from colorectal cancer each year, but those numbers have slowly started to decrease thanks to improved screening and treatment. Like all cancers, early detection helps increase the chances of successfully fighting off the disease.

For patients who are considered to be at average risk for colorectal cancer, screenings should begin at age 50. Others with a higher risk should begin conversations and consider screening as early as age 40. Consult with your physician to determine which type of screening is right for you as there are a number of different screening options for colorectal cancer, such as a colonoscopy, digital rectal exam, double contrast barium enema, fecal occult blood test and flexible sigmoidoscopy.

Learn more about colorectal cancer

Lung cancer screening programs

Early detection of lung cancer combined with surgical treatment has been shown to improve the five-year survival rate to higher than 70 percent – late detection rates are only 15 percent by comparison. If you’re a current or former smoker, the American Society of Clinical Oncology suggests annual screening with a low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). The LDCT scan takes less than 10 minutes and is available at the ETMC Cancer Institute for only $150 for those who meet the following criteria:

  • are between the ages of 55 and 74 and are a current smoker or have quit smoking within the last 15 years
  • smoked one pack per day for 30 years or two packs per day for 15 years

Learn more about lung cancer

Obtenga más información sobre el programa de detección de cáncer de pulmón, haga clic aquí.

Lung nodule screening programs

The ETMC lung nodule program was designed to gather a multidisciplinary team to provide expert evaluation, early diagnosis and timely treatment of nodules detected in the lung. Our healthcare specialists use evidence-based guidelines in their evaluations and conduct weekly meetings to review the courses of treatment that are customized for each individual patient. We provide specialized and coordinated patient care that results in improved clinical outcomes.

Each patient in the program receives optimal, customized treatment based on thorough examination by the ETMC multidisciplinary team of specialists. Patients are offered access to the latest clinical trials. This program is designed to simplify the process for the patient, eliminating unnecessary office visits and duplicated procedures while ensuring timely follow-up and optimal care.

Learn more about the lung nodule program

Prostate cancer screening programs

While survival rates among men diagnosed with prostate cancer are high, it can still be a deadly disease. The American Cancer Society recommends making an informed decision based on various risk factors. Starting at age 50, men should begin discussing screening options for prostate cancer with their physician. Those with a heightened risk of developing prostate cancer should begin consulting with their physician at age 45.

If you decide that you want to be screened for prostate cancer, you will likely undergo a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which measures the blood level of PSA in your body. PSA is a protein that is produced by the prostate gland. If you have a high PSA level, you are more likely to have prostate cancer; however, there may be other reasons for this elevated level. Prostate cancer has also been found in men who do not have an elevated PSA level so a digital rectal exam (DRE) may be added to part of your prostate cancer screening as well.

Learn more about prostate cancer

For more information, visit our Screening and diagnostic technologies page.