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Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

Early detection of cancer greatly increases your treatment options and ability to get your cancer into remission. Find at UHS the screenings and diagnostic tests you need to rule out cancer or get on the path to healing as quickly as possible.

Common Cancer Screenings & Diagnostic Procedures

Your doctor may recommend one of the following tests based on your health or condition-specific screening results.

  • Computed tomography (CT/CAT) scan – Combines multiple X-ray images into one 3-D image for greater detail and clarity to help your doctor identify cancerous tumors
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – Creates detailed images of your soft tissue using a magnetic field and radio waves to help your doctor identify cancerous tumors and the location of your cancer
  • Biopsy – Tests a sample of tissue for cancer cells 
  • Lab tests – Give insight into your condition through samples of your urine, blood, bone marrow or another substance

Condition-Specific Cancer Screenings & Tests

Some cancer screenings test for specific cancer conditions. Trust our physicians and advanced technology to provide you with sophisticated condition-specific cancer screenings.

At UHS, you’ll benefit from the expertise of the region’s only dermatopathologist—a doctor who specializes in diagnosing disease of the skin, hair and nails—and neuropathologist—a doctor who’s an expert at diagnosing brain and nervous system diseases. You even have available the services of the area’s only board-certified cytopathologist—a doctor with extensive training diagnosing cancer by examining your cells in fluid samples.

Cancer screenings and tests at UHS include:

  • Skin exam for skin cancer
  • Thyroid exam for thyroid cancer
  • Flow cytometry analysis—the only one in the area—which helps diagnose early stages of leukemia and lymphoma

Breast Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

Find breast cancer screenings and diagnostic tests at UHS, including:

  • Breast imaging, such as a 3-D mammogram, ultrasound or MRI – Helps your doctor detect tumors and abnormalities in your breast
  • Clinical breast exam – Checks for lumps and changes to your breasts through a physical exam by your health care provider
  • Biopsy – Removes a small sample of irregular tissue—either via a needle or small incision—to test if cancer is present
  • Stereotactic biopsy – Uses real-time imaging to guide the precise removal of tissue for further examination
  • Breast cancer risk assessment – Evaluates factors including your sex, age, genetics, family history and more to determine your risk for developing breast cancer
  • Genetic testing and counseling – Tests for mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which may indicate a higher risk for developing breast cancer, and examines your family history for further breast cancer risk indicators
  • Axillary node dissection – Removes lymph nodes in your breast or breasts, usually at the same time as a lumpectomy or mastectomy, to test to see if cancer has spread to your lymph nodes
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy – Removes a specific set of lymph nodes (sentinel nodes) to test to see if cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor

Lung Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

What is lung cancer?

lung-cancer-thumbnail.jpgLung cancer is when cells of the tissue of the lungs grow out of control. This form of cancer often has no symptoms until it has spread, because there are few specialized nerves, or pain receptors, in the lungs. When lung cancer symptoms do occur, they vary depending on the type of lung cancer and the location and size of the tumor. Some lung cancer symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses.

Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Coughing (most common, 50 percent of cases)
  • Blood in sputum
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumonia
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the heart or lungs

Learn if you are a candidate for screening early, before the onset of symptoms.

Screening for lung cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is estimated that more than 200,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed this year, with over 150,000 deaths occurring. Yet today there are more options than ever before for successful treatment when lung cancer is diagnosed in the early stages, before it has escaped the lungs.

What is the new standard for screening?

Recommended low-dose CT screening for lung cancer has been developed in response to new medical evidence. Studies have found that patients who get an annual screening with low-dose CT have a 20 percent reduced risk of dying from lung cancer compared to patients who are diagnosed using traditional chest X-rays.

The goal of screening is to detect lung cancer before it starts causing symptoms and when treatment can be most successful. Screening
should increase survival and quality of life.

Is screening right for me?

Only people at high risk of developing lung cancer will benefit from screening. Risk is defined by your age—usually if you are between 55 and 77—and by what is called “pack years” of smoking. Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes per day that a person smoked by the number of years the person smoked.

Other risk factors, such as a personal history of cancer or lung disease, a family history of cancer or lung disease, and occupational exposure, also can play a role. These should be discussed with your referring provider and with UHS Nurse Direct. We offer screening to those individuals who are considered high-risk.

How will I be screened?

If you are eligible, you will be referred to the UHS Lung Screening Program. After you visit with a provider, you may be scheduled for the low-dose CT. Low-dose CT uses an X-ray-generating device that rotates around your body and a very powerful computer to create a cross-section image of the inside of your lungs.

From the image, the medical team can see small tumors, which may be more treatable by surgery or other procedures. The scan helps find cancerous nodules early, often before they spread beyond the lungs.

Some findings may not be cancerous and may not require treatment. These will be observed and managed by your team of specialists as appropriate.

How will I learn the results?

If you are screened, you will be contacted by a provider to make sure that you understand the results.

The provider will make arrangements for any follow-up appointment that may be required. They will also keep in touch with you and our lung screening team to ensure that you receive quality care, and will be there as a resource for you throughout the entire process.

How does low-dose CT compare with the traditional chest X-ray?

When it comes to screening, researchers have found significant advantages to the patient when low-dose CT is used:

  • Non-calcified nodules were three times more likely to show up
  • Cancerous tumors were four times more likely to be detected
  • Stage 1 cancers were six times more likely to be detected

Are you a candidate for lung cancer screening with
low-dose CT scanning?

•Low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan – Rotates an X-ray device around your body to create a cross-sectional image of the inside of your lungs to help your doctor detect tumors or other abnormalities in your lungs

Prostate Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

Find prostate cancer screenings and diagnostic tests at UHS, including:

•Digital rectal exam – Checks for abnormal areas on your prostate through the rectal wall
•Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – Measures the level of a protein in your blood that may indicate prostate cancer

Colon & Rectal (Colorectal) Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

Find colon and rectal cancer screenings and diagnostic tests at UHS, including:

• Colonoscopy – Examines your rectum and entire colon with a small, lighted, flexible tube that can take samples of abnormal areas for further testing
• Fecal occult blood test – Checks for and tests blood in your stool, which may indicate cancer if certain proteins are present in the sample
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Examines your rectum and part of your colon with a small, lighted, flexible tube that can take samples of abnormal areas for further testing
• Videoendoscopy – Uses a small, flexible lighted tube with a camera at the end to examine your gastrointestinal tract for abnormalities and take samples, if needed

Ovarian & Cervical Cancer Screenings & Diagnosis

Find ovarian and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic tests at UHS, including:

  • Cervical cancer screening
    -Human papillomavirus (HPV) test – Examines swabbed cervical cells for a specific type of infection that can lead to abnormal cells that develop into cancer
    -Pap test – Examines swabbed cervical cells for abnormal cells that may develop into cancer
  • Endometrial biopsy – Tests a small sample of the lining of your uterus for abnormal cells that may indicated the presence of cancer
  • Ovarian cancer screenings, which may include a blood test or transvaginal ultrasound

Expert Cancer Care Close to Home

Find exceptional cancer services throughout the UHS service area in New York’s Southern Tier. Services and treatments may vary by location. Your doctor will refer you to the location that best suits your care needs.

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