Screening Tests

Cancer Doesn’t Wait

Cancer doesn’t wait and neither should you. In this video, Dr. Lisa Richardson, Dr. Robert W. Carlson, and Dr. Laura Makaroff talk about the importance of routine cancer screenings.

CDC supports screening for breast, cervical, colorectal (colon), and lung cancers as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Forceexternal icon (USPSTF).

Screeningexternal icon means checking your body for cancer before you have symptoms. Getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk.

Breast Cancer

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.

Learn more about screening for breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer

The Pap test can find abnormal cells in the cervix which may turn into cancer. The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes. Pap tests also can find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.

Learn more about screening for cervical cancer.

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Screening women. Saving lives.

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers free or low-cost mammograms and Pap tests nationwide. Find out if you qualify.

Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.

Learn more about screening for colorectal cancer.

Lung Cancer

The USPSTF recommends yearly lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for people who have a history of heavy smoking, and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 50 and 80 years old.

Learn more about screening for lung cancer.

Screening for Other Kinds of Cancer

Screening for ovarian,external icon pancreatic,external icon prostate,external icon testicular,external icon and thyroidexternal icon cancers has not been shown to reduce deaths from those cancers. The USPSTF found insufficient evidence to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for bladder cancerexternal icon and oral cancerexternal icon in adults without symptoms, and of visual skin examination by a doctor to screen for skin cancerexternal icon in adults.

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2021