The more you know

Medical experts agree the best way to beat cancer is through early detection.  The American Cancer Society recommends a cancer-related checkup every three years for people 20–40 years old and every year for people 40 and older. Exams should include health counseling, and depending on your age, you might have examinations for cancers of the thyroid, oral cavity, skin, lymph nodes, testes, and ovaries, as well as for some nonmalignant diseases.

The American Cancer Society also encourages the following cancer screenings:


Did you know, you can receive your annual mammogram without an order from your physician?  In our region, only Mercy Health has received approval to perform mammogram screenings without needing an order from your doctor.  Call 419-251-3993 today to get scheduled!

These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Women with a personal history of breast cancer, a family history of breast cancer, a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as BRCA), and women who had radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 are at higher risk for breast cancer, not average-risk.

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.

Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms associated with breast cancer screening. They should also be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.


Regular mammograms can often help find breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful. A mammogram can find breast changes that could be cancer years before physical symptoms develop. Results from many decades of research clearly show that women who have regular mammograms are more likely to have breast cancer found early, less likely to need aggressive treatment (like surgery to remove the entire breast [mastectomy] and chemotherapy), and more likely to be cured.

Mammograms are not perfect. They miss some cancers. And sometimes more tests will be needed to find out if something found on a mammogram is or is not cancer. There’s also a small possibility of being diagnosed with a cancer that never would have caused any problems had it not been found during screening. It‘s important that women getting mammograms know what to expect and understand the benefits and limitations of screening.

Clinical breast exam and breast self-exam

Research does not show a clear benefit of physical breast exams done by either a health professional or by yourself for breast cancer screening. Due to this lack of evidence, regular clinical breast exam and breast self-exam are not recommended. Still, all women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.

If you have financial concerns regarding a mammogram, please call 419-696-5839 to see how Mercy Health may be able to assist you.

Colon and rectal

Men and women 50 and older should follow one of the following exam schedules:
  • A fecal occult blood test every year and a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years*
  • A colonoscopy every 10 years*
  • A double-contrast barium enema every five to ten years*
  • A digital rectal exam should be done at each of these exams. People at moderate to high risk for colorectal cancer should talk with a doctor about a different testing

If you have financial concerns regarding a colonoscopy, please call 419-407-1187 to see how Mercy Health may be able to assist you.


The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:
  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).


The American Cancer Society recommends that women follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early. Following these guidelines can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from forming.
  • All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) at age 21. Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group (it may be used as a part of follow-up for an abnormal Pap test).
  • Beginning at age 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This is called co-testing and should continue until age 65.
  • Another reasonable option for women 30 to 65 is to get tested every 3 years with just the Pap test.

These discussions should occur with your healthcare provider.  If you do not have a primary care doctor or gynecologist, call Mercy Health today to schedule an appointment, 419-251-6372.


How do I know if I am at risk for lung cancer?

You’re at risk if:
  • You are between 55-77 years old
  • You have smoked a pack or more of cigarettes a day for 30+ years
  • You’re still smoking or have quit in past 15 years

How do I get this scheduled?

First, discuss with your doctor whether the screening is right for you.  If it is, your doctor will help get it scheduled.  Afterward, you can discuss the results with your healthcare provider and determine your next steps for care, if needed.

Benefits of a Mercy Health screening?

  • Screenings conveniently available at all hospital locations.
  • Prompt scheduling
  • Increased chances for early detection and treatment
  • Shorter wait times for tests, results, and visits
  • Safe and effective screenings with less radiation
  • Assistance with follow=up visits and coordination of care
  • Referral to stop-smoking programs and community resources
  • Access to a nurse navigator to answer your questions
  • Ongoing communication between specialists and your doctors

Have questions? Give us a call, 1-866-606-LUNG