The Importance of Cancer Screening

May 30, 2024

We can all take steps to reduce our risk of cancer. Our diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors all play a role. Early detection through proper screening is key and may mean less treatment and recovery time.

Did you know that about 1 in 4 cases of cancer in Canada can be prevented?  The things we eat, drink, breathe, and our activity level all affect our cancer risk. Getting proper screening at the right time can impact early detection and treatment outcomes. 

Whether it's screening for cervical, breast, colon, lung, or prostate cancer, if you’re in a certain age or population group, you can get screening before you have noticed symptoms. Here’s how to take control of your health and get screened: 

Cervical Cancer Screening

According to BC Cancer (2024), anyone with a cervix should be screened for cervical cancer every three to five years if: 

  • You are between the ages of 25-691 
  • You’ve had any sexual contact with another person of any gender1 
  • You’ve been through menopause1  

Screening for cervical cancer is more accessible than ever with cervix self-screening kits that can be done in the comfort of your own home and are an alternative to the Pap test. 

Click here to request your self-screening kit.

Breast Cancer Screening

Screening for breast cancer should be done every two years if: 

  • You are between the ages 40 to 74 with a parent, sibling, or child (known as a “first degree relative) who has had breast cancer2
  • You are between the ages of 50 to 74 without a parent, sibling, or child who has had breast cancer2

Screening for most types of breast cancer is done through mammograms, in which x-ray images will be taken of your breasts to detect any signs of cancer2. Self examinations are also recommended. 

If you’d like to get screened for breast cancer, please reach out to the BC Breast Screening Program 1-800-663-9203. 

Colon Cancer Screening

Screening for colon cancer should be done every two years and is recommended if: 

  • You are between the ages of 50-743 
  • You have a close family history of early colon cancer with multiple first-degree relatives (e.g. parents, siblings, and kids) with the disease 3
  • You have a personal history of adenomas that should undergo a colonoscopy3

Routine screening can be done using a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), which is a painless test that checks your poop for tiny amounts of blood. Your healthcare provider can refer you for a FIT test, or you can go through a virtual clinic for a referral. 

Lung Cancer Screening

Screening for lung cancer is recommended every year (up to three years in a row) if: 

  • You are between the ages of 55-74 with a history of smoking4
  • You are considered high risk for lung cancer4

Lung screening involves a scan of the lungs using a low-dose CT machine. If you think you qualify for screening, you can call the Lung Screening Program at 1-877-717-5864 for more information.

Prostate Cancer Screening

One in nine men in Canada will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, although it’s highly treatable if diagnosed in the early stages. Annual screening for prostate cancer is recommended if you are a man between the ages of 50-70.

Screening is done with a digital rectal exam or through a serum prostate-specific antigen test (PSA), which measures the level of PSA in your blood since PSA can be elevated in men who have prostate cancer. To get screened, you can book an appointment with your healthcare provider for a physical exam or for a PSA test referral. 

A Preventative Approach 

At Sprout, our Nurse Practitioners are dedicated to providing comprehensive support for your health needs. They can offer educational resources, make referrals, and perform essential screenings and exams, such as pap tests and prostate screening tests. Our focus is on optimizing treatment for young families, emphasizing illness prevention and promoting longevity. Regular cancer screenings are an important part of our preventative approach.

If you’d like to learn more, there’s lots of useful information about screening on the BC Cancer website. 


  1. BC Cancer. Why Cervix Screening is Important.
  2. BC Cancer. Breast Cancer: Who should screen?
  3. BC Cancer. Colon Cancer: Who should screen.
  4. BC Cancer. Lung Cancer: Get screened.
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