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Live Well: Get screened for cancer

March 17, 2023


The second in our new wellness series from our partner Gallagher.

An important step for cancer prevention is getting recommended screenings. They can help you and your physician identify signs of cancer early when it is more treatable.

Cancer Care Ontario supports screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal (colon), and lung cancers. Which of these screenings you should get depends on your sex, age, family history, and other factors.

Breast cancer screenings

People with an average risk of break cancer are recommended to get a mammogram every two years between the ages of 50 and 74. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk with your physician about when to start mammograms—and how often to get them.

Cervical cancer screenings

Currently, the Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that anyone with a cervix (women, transmasculine, and non-binary people) who is or ever has been sexually active have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21.

Colorectal cancer screenings

Most people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer after they turn 50. Screening options include Fecal immunochemical tests (stool tests), colonoscopy, and in some cases, flexible sigmoidoscopy. Those with certain bowel diseases and/or family history may need to start screenings at a younger age.

Lung cancer screenings

Current or former heavy smokers (those who have smoked cigarettes every day for at least 20 years—it does not have to be 20 years in a row, which means there could be times when you did not smoke) between the ages of 55 to 74 may qualify for lung cancer screening.

Talk to your doctor

If you are not sure which screenings you should get, talk to your doctor. Together, you can go over your family history, lifestyle, and other factors to decide which screenings are right for you.