Don’t Forget About Scheduling Cancer Screenings

January 25, 2017

Wyoming residents should not let the year get away from them before ensuring they are on track with recommended cancer screenings, according to a Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) representative.

“Getting cancer screenings helps find cancer early, which is when the disease is easiest to treat,” said Julie Tarbuck, Wyoming Integrated Cancer Services outreach and education supervisor with WDH.

General preventive cancer screenings recommendations include:

  • Everyone, starting at age 50, should get a colonoscopy every ten years or complete a stool test every year.
  • Women, starting at age 21, should get a pap test done every third year until the age of 30.
  • Women, starting at age 50, should get a mammogram every other year.

WDH recommends people should talk to medical professionals about their personal risks for cancer and whether their screening needs may be different. “We do know three of the most common risk factors for cancer are tobacco use, a lack of regular exercise and a personal or family history of cancer,” Tarbuck said.

Tarbuck noted stool testing is a relatively new way to test for colorectal cancer. “The test we provide is about 90-95 percent accurate, it’s easy and can be taken care of in the comfort of your own home,” she said. “Stool tests are also nice because they don’t cost much.”

“Preventive screening is important for cancer, and that’s why there are programs available in Wyoming to help ensure cost is not a barrier to getting recommended tests,” Tarbuck said.

WDH offers free colonoscopies, mammograms, stool tests and pap tests for eligible residents. Additional community resources may also be available. For more information about WDH cancer screening programs and local resources please visit www.health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/cancer online or call 1-800-264-1296.