Screening and Prevention

Cancer can be cured—even prevented.

Simple screening tests can help detect many cancers in the earliest stages, when they can be treated successfully. It's important to remember that these are tests done when you're healthy and there are no signs of illness. They help find cancer at its earliest stage, when the chances for curing the disease are greatest.

Exams for colon and cervical cancer can even find abnormal cells before they turn into cancer. By removing these cells, cancer can be prevented altogether.

The types of screening you should have and how often you should have them depends on your risk for a particular type of cancer. It's important to know if people in your family have had cancer. This information, along with your personal health history, helps your healthcare provider determine if you're at increased or high risk. You and your healthcare provider can use this information to make a well-informed decision about which cancer screenings are best for you.

Common cancer screenings include:

Read more about the following screenings at Sentara Martha Jefferson:

  • Colonoscopy

    The thought of having a colonoscopy may make you uncomfortable, but even more uncomfortable is the thought of having colorectal cancer —one of the most widespread, lethal cancers in the United States.

    Having a colonoscopy can help you catch this dangerous disease before it’s too late. A quick exam can help to ensure early detection and go a long way toward giving you the peace of mind that comes with a clean bill of health.

  • Lung Screening

    Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and is responsible for more deaths annually than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. A landmark national study, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, has indicated that screening with low-dose CT can help find these cancers early, leading to a higher cure rate.

  • Mammograms

    Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death—as well as one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers—among women. Between picking up the kids and grabbing groceries, many tasks get put off until tomorrow, or go undone altogether. Scheduling a mammogram shouldn't be one of them.

    Sentara Martha Jefferson offers a free breast health screening twice a year for women who:

    • Don't have insurance that covers mammograms and for whom cost is a concern
    • Are 40 or older
    • Have not had a mammogram for over a year, or have never had one

    For more information, or to be referred to a physician, call 434-654-7009 or toll-free at 888-652-6663.

  • Prostate Screenings

    Having a prostate exam shouldn’t be cause for concern or fear. This screening is painless and takes just minutes to perform.

    What is frightening is that nearly one man in six will get prostate cancer at some point in his life. And risk factors like having a family history of prostate cancer, eating a diet high in fats and red meats or simply getting older can increase your chances of getting this disease.

    Prostate exams can detect cancer early when treatment is most effective. Since there are typically no symptoms of prostate cancer, these exams can save your life. In fact, if cancer is caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent.