Top 5 Cancers (years 2001-2005)

These cancers occur most commonly among 20-44 year olds.

  • Testis
  • Melanoma of Skin
  • Colon/Rectum
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Thyroid
  • Breast
  • Thyroid
  • Melanoma of Skin
  • Cervix
  • Colon/Rectum

Screening Recommendations

Age and SexScreening RecommendationScreening Locations and Other Information
Women age 20 - 39 yearsFor breast cancer: Monthly breast self-exam and clinical breast exam every 1 - 3 years. Mammograms are not routine except for women with strong risk factors: family history of pre-menopausal breast cancer (mother or sister) and personal history of breast/ovarian/endometrial cancer.Sites for low income, uninsured women:
Women age 40 and olderFor breast cancer: Monthly breast self-exam, annual clinical breast exam, and annual mammogram.List of mammography facilities in Massachusetts

Sites for low income, uninsured women:

Women about 3 years after beginning vaginal intercourse, but no later than 21 yearsFor cervical cancer: Pelvic exam and pap test every 1 - 3 years depending on your level of risk (every 3 years only after you have had 3 consecutive negative results).Sites for low income, uninsured women:
Men age 40 and older of African American heritage or with a family history of prostate cancerFor prostate cancer: Have a discussion with your provider about the risks and benefits of screening, then engage shared decision making.


All men within this age groupFor testicular cancer: Monthly testicular self-exam and a clinical exam every 1 to 3 years.
All women and men within this age groupFor skin cancer: Periodic skin exams at your health care professional's discretion.

Prevention Strategies

  • Don't smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit high fat foods, including red meat, and limit alcohol to 1 to 2 drinks per day.
  • Get 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days of the week.
  • Use sun protection methods, such as protective clothing and sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) and limit sun exposure during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Minimize exposures to cancer-causing agents in your neighborhood and in your workplace.

Related Links

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.