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Diagnosis //

Early detection is one of the most powerful weapons that we have against cancer.  Effective screening plays a valuable role and can dramatically increase the chances of finding some cancer at a point when treatment options can be effective and the outcomes for the best.  Screening is not possible or practical for all cancers, but for those that can be detected with screening, it can be lifesaving.  If certain cancers run it your family, or if you have certain other risk factors your doctor may recommend regular screening.


At Taylor Regional Radiation Oncology, we are dedicated to providing our patients with the best possible care through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.  Although we treat almost all forms of cancer, the following cancer screening protocols are for some of the most common cancers nationwide.

Breast Cancer //

Examinations and Screenings


Improve your chances for an early diagnosis, treatment, and recovery with self-examinations and clinical breast examinations.

Regularly checking your breasts allows you to become familiar with what is normal for you and you will become more likely to notice any changes which include:

  • Lumps, hard knots or thickening inside the breast or underneath the arm

  • Breast swelling, warmth, redness or darkening

  • Breast size or shape changes

  • Skin dimpling and puckering

  • An itchy, scaly nipple sore or rash

  • Nipple or breast inversion or retraction

  • Sudden nipple discharge

  • New localized breast pain that does not go away

A self-examination can help diagnosis breast cancer.

A clinical breast exam should be part or your annual well-woman check-up and performed by your doctor



A mammogram is a breast x-ray that can show small early stage breast cancers.  High quality digital screening mammography is the most effective tool to detect breast cancer before lumps can be felt or symptoms appear and is available at Taylor Regional Hospital.  Early breast cancer detection and diagnosis helps provide a woman with more treatment options and improves outcome.

Types of Mammography and Imaging

  • Digital mammograms – images are produced digitally rather than using film.  The screening is more sensitive than traditional film mammography and can include computer aided detection.


  • 3-D mammograms – highly efficient and accurate digital technology used to identify small tumor for early detection


  • Breast Magnetic Imaging (MRI) – an extremely sensitive test using magnetic fields not x-rays to image the breast.


  • Breast Ultrasound – sound imaging that can be used to determine if a breast mass or lump is filled with fluid.

Prostate Cancer //

Prostate Cancer //



Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among men in the United States.  The incidence rate increases in men 50 years of age and older forming the recommendation for screening at 50.  For men at higher risk screening may start at a younger age.

Risk Factors

Studies have linked several factors to an increased risk for prostate cancer:

  • Older age – most common in men over 50

  • Family history of prostate cancer

  • African American men have a higher incidence rate

  • Overweight

  • Diagnosis of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia

  • Certain genome mutations

Diagnostic Tests

Transrectal Ultrasound – The doctor inserts an ultrasound probe into your rectum to check the prostate for abnormalities.  The probe passes sound waves off the prostate and a computer uses an echo to create a picture of the prostate.


Transrectal Biopsy – This is the only certain way to diagnose prostate cancer.  The doctor inserts a needle through the ultrasound probe and remove a tissue sample from several differ areas of the prostate gland.  Another doctor, a pathologist, checks the samples for the presence of cancer.

Screening Tests

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

A digital rectal exam is often part of a routine physical examination.  If you a man over 50, a DRE should be part of your annual check-up.  Your doctor inserts a lubricated gloved finger in your rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or other abnormalities.

Prostatic Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

The prostatic specific antigen (PSA) test measures the blood levels of PSA, an enzyme produced by the prostate cells.  PSA may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer.



Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, often not causing signs or symptoms until it is more advanced.  If you have prostate cancer you have symptoms that affect the flow of urine

  • Inability to pass urine

  • Difficulty starting or stopping flow

  • Needing to urinate often, especially at night

  • Weak urine flow

  • Urine flow that starts and stops

  • Pain or burning with urination

  • Difficulty having an erection

  • Blood in the urine or semen

  • Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs

  • Erectile dysfunction

Colorectal Cancer //

Regular screening can often find colorectal cancer early, when it can be cured.  Screen can also prevent colorectal cancer by removing polyps before they turn into cancer.

Most colorectal cancers develop from lifestyle-related factors and increasing age with 90% of patients being greater than 50 yo.

  • Personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer.

  • Personal history of irritable bowel disease

  • Family history of colorectal cancer

  • History of inherited syndromes


  • Smoking

  • Heavy alcohol use

  • High consumption of red meat

  • Diabetes

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Obesity

Screen for Colorectal Cancer

Screening for colorectal cancer using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy is generally recommended beginning at age 50 for those without specific risk factors.  For those at high risk of developing colorectal cancer, screening may begin at an earlier age.

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – is a procedure where doctors use a flexible lighted tube to look at the interior walls of the rectum and lower colon


  • Colonoscopy – is a common procedure that is performed with a flexible lighted tube to look at the interior walls of the rectum and the entire colon.  Colonoscopies can be used as screening tests or as follow up diagnostic procedure when the results of another screening rest are positive


  • Double-contrast barium enema – is a type of x-ray test the highlights the inner part of the colon and rectum.


  • Computer tomography (CT) colonography or virtual colonoscopy creates a 3-D view of your colon and rectum.

Lung Cancer //

Lung Cancer Screenings


Lung Cancer Screening Criteria

  • 55-77 years old

  • Currently smoking or quit in the last 15 years

  • Have at least a 30-pack-year history of smoking

Lung Cancer Screening Program

  • Annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans

  • Health care consultation

  • Tobacco cessation program

Lung screening LDCT scan results range from showing no disease to being specific for cancer.  However most suspicious nodules turn out not to be cancer.  A positive screen LDCT may require further tests to determine whether the suspicious finding is a cancer which often is confirmed by a biopsy.

Head and Neck Cancer //

Head and Neck Cancer Types

Oral – lips, gums, inside cheeks, floor and roof of mouth, and the tongue

Laryngeal – voice box and vocal cords

Pharyngeal (throat) – tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the esophagus

Thyroid – gland in front of the neck below the voice box


  • A lump or swelling in the neck

  • A sore in the mouth that won’t heal or bleeds easily

  • A lingering red or white patch in the mouth

  • Frequent nose bleeds, persistent nasal congestion or chronic sinus infections

  • Continuous sore throat, hoarseness, or voice change

  • Persistent neck, throat, or ear pain

  • Blood in the sputum

  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue

  • Numbness of the tongue or mouth

  • Loosening teeth

  • Dentures that don’t fit

  • Mole changes or discoloration or even present crusting or open sore


  • Blood tests

  • Biopsy

  • Endoscopy

  • Imaging

    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

    • CT (computed tomography)

    • Ultrasound

    • PET