At University of Missouri’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, we know that routine cancer screenings can help prevent and detect cancer early when it’s most treatable.

In an effort to provide our community with the most advanced and personalized care, we offer cancer screenings through our Cancer Screenings Clinic.

Staffed registered nurses and a nurse practitioner, the clinic conducts multiple women’s health screenings that include skin checks for all skin cancers, clinical breast exams, and pap and pelvic exams.

For men, we provide skin checks for all skin cancers and our nurse practitioner provides men’s wellness exams including prostate cancer screenings.

Screenings Offered

Screenings can be lifesaving and it’s important to get your screenings when they are recommended. Most screenings are covered by health insurance as preventative services. Skin screenings are not covered and are considered an out-of-pocket cost. Funds may be available for those underinsured or uninsured. As an academic health system, we follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for mammograms and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network for men’s health exams.

Breast Exams

At our clinic, we offer women a wide variety of screening options, beginning with breast cancer. We provide mammograms, which are X-ray photos of your breasts that show indications of breast cancer. Mammograms should begin at age 40 and vary depending on your age. We recommend the following screening schedule:

  • Women ages 40-44 years old should have annual breast cancer screening and mammograms. 
  • Women age 45-54 years old should get a mammogram every year.
  • Women 55 years old and older may switch to mammograms every 2 years or may continue yearly screenings.

Women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel, and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.

Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. Talk with your doctor about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you. Our clinic follows the American Cancer Society Guidelines for breast cancer screenings.

Skin Exams

Finding and treating skin cancer or melanoma early gives our patients the best outcomes. Starting at age 21, we recommend you get a whole-body skin exam every year if you identify with one or more of the following:

  • Albinism
  • Exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of sun light.
  • Family history of melanoma 
  • History of blistery sunburn
  • More than 50 moles on your body
  • Red hair and freckles
  • Personal skin cancer history
  • Tanning bed use

If you are currently seeing a dermatologist, he or she can also provide you with a yearly skin screening. If you find an area of concern, please call our office to schedule an appointment.

Pap/Pelvic Exams

Pap and HPV tests can be used to screen for cervical cancer. Depending on your age and your last test, your doctor will recommend how often you should be screened.

Women should begin screenings with the pap test at age 21. If screening results are normal, doctors might recommend waiting three years before the next pap test.

For women ages 30-65:

  • If you choose a pap test only and the results are normal, you should be screened again in three years. 
  • If you choose the HPV test and your results are normal, your doctor might suggest waiting five years before your next screening. The HPV test looks at your cells to see if they contain the HPV virus, which can cause cancer. You can begin the HPV test at age 30. 
  • If you have the HPV test along with a pap test and your results are normal, you will need to be screened again in five years.

In general, women older than 65 shouldn’t need to be screened if they have had normal screenings for the past several tests or have had their cervix removed.

Women with a history of cervical cancer or serious cervical precancer should continue to be tested at least 20 years after diagnosis, even if testing continues past the age of 65.

Men’s Wellness Exams

Screening should begin at age 50 when men have their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level tested. A high PSA level might indicate prostate cancer. This test is done by drawing blood in our clinic. Depending on your PSA level, we will recommend how often you should have it tested in the future.

Certain ethnic groups such as African American men or those with a family history of prostate cancer should begin screening at age 45.

Men’s wellness exams are offered by our nurse practitioner, Julie Seda, and follow the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.