Early Screening Can Save Your Life… or the Life of Someone You
The Bryn Mawr Hospital Cancer Center is committed to cancer prevention
and education. Research suggests that your risk of developing many
cancers may be reduced through proper nutrition, exercise and avoiding
substances like tobacco and alcohol. And most cancers can be treated and
managed successfully with early detection. That's why we routinely offer
free screenings and seminars to inform and educate the community about
cancer prevention strategies.
Bryn Mawr and the other hospitals of Main Line Health offer a wide
variety of educational programs and community screenings for breast,
skin, prostate and colorectal cancers. Search for classes and screenings
near you in our event calendar.
Cancer Screenings Make a Difference
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
Certain common cancers can be found at an earlier, more curable stage by
routinely searching or "screening" for evidence of cancer in healthy
adults. Though you may be anxious about undergoing tests that could lead
to a cancer diagnosis, we encourage you to visit your doctor for routine
exams and cancer screenings.
Some cancers do not initially cause any symptoms, so routine screening
by your physician is the best way to identify cancer in its earliest
stages. An abnormal screening test does not necessarily mean you have
cancer. If you screening test is abnormal, you will be advised to
undergo a more detailed evaluation to check for cancer. Even though
screening tests are not foolproof, early detection through screening is
our best weapon in the fight against cancer and is known to improve the
cure rates for certain cancers.
What follows are our screening recommendations for certain common types
of cancer. Please note that even if your screening tests are normal, you
should notify your physician of any new symptoms, such as lumps, blood
in urine or stool, changes in bowel habits, new or persistent cough and
changes in moles.
Cervical Cancer: Studies show a 60 to 90 percent
decrease in the cervical cancer death rate with routine pap smears.
1. Annual pap smear after the age of 18 for all sexually active women.
2. For low risk women who have had three annual, consecutive normal pap
smears, two or three years is acceptable.
Skin Cancer: More than 800,000 new cases of skin cancer
are diagnosed each year. Although most of these cancers can be easily
treated, some melanoma skin cancers can be fatal.<
1. Have your doctor examine your skin at the time of your routine
2. Perform self-exam for changes in color, thickness, shape, size or
other changes in moles, and report these to your doctor.
Breast Cancer: Screening can lower the death rate from
breast cancer by one-third.
1. A mammogram and physician-performed breast exam every year after age
2. A normal mammogram does not eliminate the possibility of breast
cancer. Therefore, you should also perform a monthly breast self-exam
for new lumps, thickening, skin redness or other changes.
Prostate Cancer: Screening can identify prostate cancer
at an earlier stage, and this may increase the cure rate.
1. Yearly digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
test should be considered beginning at age 50.
2. Earlier screening may be indicated for high-risk individuals
(African-Americans and those with a family history of prostate cancer).
Colorectal Cancer: Screening can identify precancerous
polyps and lower the death rate from colorectal cancer by up to 30
percent. To schedule a screening colonoscopy call 484.337.8540.
Minimum Screening Recommendations:
1. Three stool samples for fecal occult blood every year beginning at
2. A flexible sigmoidoscope or colonoscopy study every three to five
years after age 50 (age 40 in those with a close relative with
Other Cancers: Studies thus far have not shown
that periodic tests (X-rays, blood tests, etc.) can find other cancers,
such as lung, pancreatic or ovarian, early enough in enough patients to
require routine testing in individuals who are not exhibiting symptoms.
Other Screening Suggestions
Family History: Patients with a first-degree
relative (sibling, parent or child) with breast, colorectal or
prostate cancer should begin screening at an earlier age than
other individuals. Please discuss your individual screening
schedule with your physician.
Cancer and Smoking: Cessation of smoking is the
best way to decrease the risk of lung, head and neck,
pancreatic, bladder and other cancers.
Common Cancer Symptoms
You should report the following symptoms to your doctor:
Breast Cancer: Breast lump or thickening, or
Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer: Changes in bowel
habits or blood in the stool
Skin Cancer: Changes in moles, or a sore that
A sore that does not heal on the skin, in the mouth or elsewhere
Difficulty swallowing or chronic indigestion
Nagging cough or hoarseness
Blood in urine or sputum
A persistent pain in some body part
Vaginal bleeding in postmenopausal women
Other changes such as unexplained weight loss, night sweats,
Cancer Risk Assessment and Genetics Program
Our Cancer Risk Assessment and
Genetics Program is designed to evaluate an individual's lifetime
risk for breast, ovarian and colorectal cancers using personal, medical,
familial and/or genetic factors. Participants gain an understanding
about what it means to be at average, moderate or high risk and, as a
result, are able to make informed healthcare decisions. This free
program (generously supported through donations) is administered by a
certified genetic counselor with oversight by a medical oncologist.
Genetic testing, if appropriate, is also offered and is usually covered
Bryn Mawr Hospital
New Appointments 1.866.CALL.MLH or 484.580.1000
Bryn Mawr Hospital
130 South Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.