At Tower Health, we use screening and risk assessment tests to find cancer before symptoms appear or to determine your risk for certain cancers. And, if you face a cancer diagnosis, we help you understand the genetics behind it.
Cancer screenings to uncover precancerous and cancerous conditions.
Cancer screenings are used to uncover certain types of cancer, including breast, cervical, colon, and lung cancer. Regular screenings may find cancer early, which is when treatment often works best. If you have an abnormal test result, more tests are likely needed to determine whether cancer is present.
Certain cancers currently do not have reliable screening tests. These include ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, or thyroid cancer. Talk to your primary care doctor about regular screenings and your risk for cancer.
Cancer Screenings and Services
- Colonoscopy. This screening can view the entire colon and rectum and detect abnormal tissue, such as polyps. During the test, the doctor can take tissue samples (biopsies) if any abnormalities are present.
- Low-Dose CT. (Also called a low-dose CT scan.) This imaging test is for people with a high risk of lung cancer but who have no symptoms. It uses low-dose computed tomography to detect cancer.
- Mammography. This screening takes an X-ray picture of the breasts and is used to identify early signs of breast cancer.
- Oral screening. A doctor or dentist looks inside your mouth and also feels the tissues there to check for lumps or other abnormalities.
- PAP test. This test is used to find abnormal cells in the cervix. It can find cervical cancer early, when the chance of being cured is very high.
- PSA test. This blood test is used to screen for prostate cancer and measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.
- Skin screening. This is a visual exam of the skin. It looks for moles, birthmarks, or other marks that are unusual in color, size, shape, or texture.
Cancer Risk Assessments and Genetics
Cancer is caused by certain changes to genes that control how our cells grow and divide. Genetic changes that impact cancer can be passed down within a family. They can also occur during your lifetime (acquired) because you’ve been exposed to cancerous substances that damage DNA, such as tobacco, radiation, and ultraviolet rays from the sun.
There are sometimes certain cancers that seem to run in families. Genetic testing for cancer risk is important if you have a family history of inherited cancer risk. These types of tests can uncover whether you have a specific genetic mutation. Understanding your hereditary cancer risk can help guide your efforts to prevent cancer from developing. But, not everyone who inherits a cancer mutation will get cancer. Risk factors for inherited cancers include:
- Cancer occurring in many generations
- Cancer that occurs at a younger age
- Many cases of the same type of cancer in your family history
- More than one childhood cancer in siblings
- Two or more relatives on a mother or father’s side had ovarian, uterine, breast, or colon cancer
We offer specialized care for people with a high risk for certain cancers.
Genetic Counseling Services
If you have a family history of cancer, genetic counseling can give you information about how your genetics might impact you or your family. At Tower Health, our specially trained genetic counselors will talk to you about your personal and family health history. You will learn how families inherit cancers and how genes are passed on to children. Only you can decide if genetic testing is right for you.
If you completed a genetic test, our genetic counselors will help you understand your test results and any possible treatment options. We’ll talk with you about cancer risk and the best ways to lower your risk. These can include lifestyle changes, yearly screenings, medicine to reduce risk, or preventive surgery. Our team is also here to connect you to other healthcare providers and support groups to help you address any concerns you may have.