Skip to main content


Cancer cells grow exponentially, and the longer they're allowed to grow unchecked, the harder they might be to treat. Cancer screening programs can give you an advantage. A cancer screening test could help your doctor spot cancer early, when it's easier to treat—and usually before it starts causing cancer symptoms.

A cancer screening test could help your doctor spot cancer early—when it's easier to treat.

At the Callahan Cancer Center, we can help create a cancer screening program just for you, based on your health, your risk factors and national guidelines.

These guidelines from the American Cancer Society (ACS) can give you an idea of what our team might recommend to screen for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. These aren't the only cancers that we screen for, but they are some of the one we are most often asked about.

Screening guidelines

Breast cancer screening guidelines

The ACS advises that every woman talk to her healthcare provider about her risk factors and the benefits and limitations of screening in order to make informed decisions.

These recommendations are for women who have an average risk of breast cancer:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 may choose to begin annual mammograms.
  • Women ages 45 to 54 should have a mammogram every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to a mammogram every two years or continue with yearly testing. Screening should continue as long as you are in good health and expect to live at least 10 more years.

Women with a higher risk of breast cancer may need more frequent or customized programs, which may include MRIs.

Colorectal cancer screening guidelines

Screening should start at age 50 for both men and women at average risk. There are a number of tests that can be used to detect colon and rectal cancer, and your doctor can help you decide which is right for you. The ACS advises one of these forms of testing:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years.
  • Double-contrast barium enema every five years.
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years.

People with a higher risk of colorectal cancer may need to follow a different screening schedule.

Prostate cancer screening guidelines

The ACS recommends that men make a decision about whether to be screened in consultation with their doctor. If you are at average risk, conversations about testing should begin when you reach age 50.

If you are at higher risk, this conversation should happen at age 45. Men at higher risk include all African American men as well as men who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65.

Understanding your cancer screening options

Cancer screening guidelines can be complicated, and sometimes it's difficult to understand what tests are right for you and when they should start. Talking with the experts at Great Plains Health can help. Our oncology team can help you to understand the risks and benefits of cancer screening and, with your primary care provider, help create a plan that's right for you.

Call the Callahan Cancer Center at 308.568.7386 to find out more.

keeping well e-newsletter

Get up-to-date information on the health topics of your choice, along with updates from our hospital, delivered to your inbox each month.