2021 Cancer Screenings Recommendations and Updates

Cathy Morrow, Rian Hasson, Audrey Calderwood headshots
From left: Cathleen E. Morrow, MD, Primary Care; Rian M. Hasson, MD, Thoracic Surgery; Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, MS, Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

With several new updates on cancer screening recommendations, it can be hard to keep track. Three Dartmouth-Hitchcock experts will provide overviews of current screening recommendations and guidelines for breast, cervical, lung and colorectal cancers.

Cathleen E. Morrow, MD 
Primary Care

The one area women don’t know a lot about (especially older women) is why the frequency of Pap smears is reduced. I get to tell the success story of HPV testing and its increasing accuracy in finding women at risk of cervical cancer. Also, I’ll explain the promise of the HPV vaccine for eliminating cervical cancer. There are also expanded criteria for who is eligible for the HPV vaccine, and that will be news to some.
For mammography I’ll touch on both sides of the controversy that remains about the frequency of screening for average-risk women. It comes down to the importance of having a conversation with your primary care provider about what’s right for you. I also hope to show the tool that helps women decide about mammogram frequency.

Rian M. Hasson, MD
Thoracic Surgery

Lung cancer screening guidelines from 10 years ago were geared toward people ages 5580 with a 30-pack-year history who were either current smokers or had recently quit. Unfortunately, those guidelines were geared toward a homogeneous population of mostly white males and females. Since then, there's been acknowledgment that populations were missing—notably those who are getting lung cancer earlier than age 55. This is particularly true in the African American population and in those of lower socioeconomic status. These populations aren’t necessarily meeting older screening criteria, or, when they do, it's too late and their disease has already advanced.

Guidelines have recently changed to include people who are 50 through 80 and have a 20-pack-year history. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually not when you look at the big picture. I’ll be talking about those new guidelines, I'll explain what a "pack-year" actually means, and also discuss where insurance coverage stands. Multiple studies have shown that lung cancer screening works. Tobacco cessation works. They both help lower the chances of dying from lung cancer.

Audrey H. Calderwood, MD, MS
Gastroenterology and Hepatology

There's been a change in the age at which it’s recommended to begin regular colorectal cancer screening. I’ll share what that change is and why. I’ll also be highlighting several different options for screening. Some patients may prefer something that's a bit more invasive, but has a higher accuracy and needs to be done less frequently, such as colonoscopy, versus something less invasive that can be done at home but needs to be done more frequently and may require follow-up to verify accuracy.

Join us from the comfort of home on Thursday, September 30, 67 pm for this Zoom session designed to help get you back on track with needed screenings, or get you started. Listen to our experts and get your questions answered. 

To register, please click here.
The Thriving Thursday Cancer Survivorship Program is a collaboration between Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society. 

For more information, contact Amy Deavitt at amy.deavitt@cancer.org.