Detecting & Diagnosing


A cancer diagnosis can come as a result of an abnormality found in varying circumstances.

  • During preventative screening or exam
  • After having identifiable symptoms
  • Accidentally found during an exam for something else

An abnormality will most likely lead to a series of tests to give a diagnosis. Southern Illinois Healthcare offers the most advanced options to accurately pinpoint the cause and give you answers.

  • 64-slice CT scanning
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • 3T MRI
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Digital & 3D mammography
  • Image-guided stereotactic biopsy
  • Endoscopic and core needle biopsies

Early Detection

When possible, we recommend that you be proactive in your health
  • Start by having a primary care physician and have regular check-ups. They will evaluate your history and are the best line of defense.
  • Do the screenings recommended by your physicians.
  • Know your family history.
Colorectal Cancer Screening

If you’re 50 years of age or older, it’s time to get that first screening test, then keep getting screened regularly, as determined by your doctor. Here are the types of tests that may be performed:

Tests that find polyps and cancer:
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Tests that may detect cancer
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA) every 3 years
  • Colorectal cancer is 90% preventable with early detection
  • If everyone who is 50 years old or older were screened regularly, approximately 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided.
  • Every year, over 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Simply stated, 1 in 20 people will get colorectal cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.
  • Illinois is the 7th lowest-ranking state for colorectal screenings
  • Colon cancer is more prevalent in African Americans

Your primary care physician can refer you to a physician who screens for colon cancer:

Breast Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recently updated their screening recommendations. The new recommendations encourage women to make an informed choice and are as follows:

  • Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to and continue to have annual mammography based on their level of comfort. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
  • Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45 and should continue annual screening until age 55. But they should have the option to begin annual screening at age 40.
  • At age 55 and over, women should have mammograms every other year – though women do still have the option to continue annual mammograms should they wish.
  • Screening mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.
  • Every day in Illinois 25 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Illinois females.
  • Early detection screening mammography can help reduce breast cancer mortality by up to 20%.
  • When breast cancer is caught and treated at Stage 1, an early and localized stage, the 5-year survival rates are about 98%.
  • Studies have shown that women who have routine mammograms have 10% to 25% less chance of dying of breast cancer than women who do not have mammograms.
  • Mammography is the most effective screening tool used to find breast cancer today and can find cancers at an early stage, when they are small and the chances of survival are highest.
  • Schedule a screening mammogram at The Breast Center in Carbondale or Herrin. A doctor’s order is not required.
  • If you feel you have unusual breast symptoms, contact your doctor so that he can fax us an order for a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram must be ordered by your physician.
  • Most insurances cover yearly screening mammography at 100%. Services are available through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program for women with no insurance to help offset the cost of preventative services. Call 800.522.1282.

The following breast specialists have clinic at The Breast Center:

Lung Cancer Screening
  • If you are between the ages of 55 and 77, and
  • More than 30-pack year (quantity x duration) history of smoking, and
  • If ex-somker, quit within the last 15 years
  • Or
  • If you are over age 50, and
  • 20-pack year history of smoking
  • Lung cancer appears to be more prevalent in southern Illinois than elsewhere and is more deadly than any other cancer.
  • Numerous factors combine to make southern Illinois’ lung cancer rates higher than the rest of the country.
  • Smoking remains the #1 cause of lung cancer everywhere. In fact, in the absence of smoking, 80 percent of lung cancer would never occur.

Ask your doctor to refer you to the Lung Screening Clinic (name) at the SIH Cancer Institute. Staff members assess your risk factors to determine if you would benefit from screening. You will also receive smoking cessation recommendations.

Physicians at the Lung Screening Clinic:

Cervical Cancer Screening (women only)

  • All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) at age 21 or when sexually active.
  • Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test at least every 3 years.
  • At age 30-65 have an HPV test every 5 years.
  • Your physician may recommend more frequency screenings based on your family history or risk factors.
  • Cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer.
  • Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50% because of the Pap test.
  • In the United States, Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and whites.

Establish with a provider in the following specialties:

  • Family Practice
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology
  • Most insurances cover cervical screenings at 100%. Services are available through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program for women with no insurance to help offset the cost of preventative services. Call 800.522.1282.

Genitourinary Cancer Team

Prostate Cancer Screening (men only)
  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
  • After a discussion with your primary care provider, be screened with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
  • The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 38 will die of prostate cancer.
  • About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
  • Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

Establish with a provider in one the following specialties: