Cancer Prevention and Screening Services

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At Mercy, we don’t just treat cancer. We help you proactively manage your health and reduce your cancer risks with regular screenings. Mercy offers many types of screening tests to detect and prevent a wide range of cancers, so you can stay healthy and active.

What Is Cancer Screening?

Cancer screening tests help detect cancer early, even before symptoms appear. When cancer is found in its earliest stages, it’s often more treatable. Mercy provides a wide range of cancer screenings using the latest advancements in early detection. Ask your Mercy provider when the time is right for you to start cancer screenings. 

Common Cancer Screening Tests

Mercy offers expertise and advanced testing tools to screen for many types of cancer. Our clinicians and technologists keep you comfortable and informed throughout your screenings. 

Colorectal Cancer Screening: Colonoscopy

If you’re 50 or older ― or younger with risk factors for colorectal cancer ― your Mercy doctor will likely tell you it’s time for a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a Mercy gastroenterologist examines the last part of your large intestine (colon and rectum), checking for polyps (abnormal growths that can turn into cancer) or signs of colorectal cancer. Using a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light, your gastroenterologist checks the intestine lining for polyps and removes them if they’re found. You’ll be sedated for this painless procedure.

Lung Cancer Screening: Low-Dose CT Scan

A low-dose CT scan is a screening test that uses low levels of radiation and multiplex-rays to create detailed images of your lungs. The scan helps doctors identify tumors as early as possible. It’s painless and only takes a few minutes. If you’re age 55 to 80 with a history of heavy smoking ― or you’re a non-smoker with other risk factors ― ask your Mercy doctor if you need lung cancer screening.

Cancer Screenings for Women

As a leader in caring for women, Mercy offers a full range of screenings to detect women’s cancers. We use the latest imaging and diagnostic tools to help women prevent cancer or catch it when it’s most treatable.

Breast Cancer Screening:  Mammogram

Screening mammograms help detect breast cancers that are too small to feel. During a mammogram, images of each breast are taken from different angles. Mercy uses advancements like 3D mammography to create highly precise images that make detecting breast cancer easier. Your provider may recommend additional supplemental screening based on your breast density and lifetime risk for breast cancer.

If you have a family history of breast cancer speak with your provider about your lifetime risk factors to understand if breast cancer genetic testing is recommended and/or additional breast screenings.

Cervical Cancer Screening:  Pap Smear

A pap smear, also known as a pap test, is a screening test for cervical cancer that’s typically part of an annual well-woman exam. During a pap test, cells are gently scraped from the cervix and checked for abnormal growth. Talk with your Mercy OB/GYN about how often you need a pap test.

Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer Screening

Endometrial cancer occurs when cancer cells grow in the uterus, typically in the lining (or endometrium). It’s most common in postmenopausal women. While there’s no routine screening test for endometrial cancer, women with symptoms like abnormal vaginal bleeding may receive diagnostic testing, including:

  • A pelvic exam to detect lumps that may be cysts or tumors
  • A transvaginal ultrasound to generate sonogram images of the uterus and surrounding organs
  • A biopsy to remove small tissue samples and check them for cancer

Additional testing may be required if endometrial cancer is suspected.

Ovarian Cancer Screening

Ovarian cancer is more common in menopausal women and those with a family history of the disease. It can be hard to detect ovarian cancer early because symptoms don’t usually appear until it’s advanced. In addition to a pelvic exam, tests to screen for ovarian cancer include:

  • A pelvic exam to check ovary size and shape, though ovarian tumors can be difficult to feel
  • A transvaginal ultrasound to generate sonogram images of the ovaries and identify tumors

Cancer Screening for Men

Men are more likely than women to develop cancer in their lifetimes. But keeping up with cancer screenings can help men detect the disease early when treatments work best.

Prostate Cancer Screening

For men at average risk of prostate cancer, two prostate cancer screening tests are commonly used.

  • A blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measures the level of PSA protein in the blood. PSA is produced by prostate cells and is often found at higher levels in men with prostate cancer.
  • A digital rectal exam may also be performed to check the prostate size and detect abnormalities.

When to Have a Cancer Screening

Cancer screening recommendations depend on your age, race, gender, current health, family history and other risk factors. Your Mercy provider will review your medical history and consider risk factors like obesity or smoking in determining your cancer screening schedule. Talk with your Mercy doctor to learn more.

Cancer Risk Assessment Program

Knowing your genetic risks helps you and your family members better understand and manage cancer’s impact on your lives. And if you develop cancer, genetic tests can assist you and your care team in making treatment decisions and monitoring for other cancers.

Mercy genetic counselors can perform hereditary risk assessments to evaluate your family’s medical history and identify the potential for inherited risks. They’ll also help you decide whether genetic testing would be useful to you.

Benefits of Early Cancer Detection

Early detection saves lives. According to the American Cancer Society, U.S. cancer deaths have declined more than 20% in the last 20 years due to screenings, lifestyle changes and treatment advances – representing more than 1.7 million lives saved. And early detection makes more treatment options possible, reducing the overall cost of cancer care.

Talk with your Mercy doctor about early cancer detection and steps you can take to reduce your risk.

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