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Cancer Screening and Detection

Mass General Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

Cancer screening and detection

Screening and early detection discover cancer earlier, often improving the ability to treat cancer. Screening tests lead to better cancer outcomes and are especially important for those with an increased risk of cancer because of family history or other factors.

At Mass General Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, our state-of-the-art technology in nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scanning, positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scanning and blood testing, allows us to screen for many different types of cancer, even before symptoms appear. Learn more about Imaging Services.

Cancer Screenings

Colonoscopies and Sigmoidoscopies

Help prevent colorectal cancer by detecting abnormal colon growths, or polyps, that can be removed before developing into cancer. If you are between the ages of 50 and 75, your doctor may recommend this type of screening. Call your primary care provider for a referral to schedule a colonoscopy.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women worldwide. In the United States alone, nearly 160,000 Americans die of lung cancer every year.

Early diagnosis and treatment are key. Studies have shown that low-dose computed tomography can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20% for people who are high risk. 

Our Lung Cancer Screening Program offers LDCT technology to detect lung cancer as early as possible in current or former smokers. To qualify, patients must meet criteria: be between the ages of 50 and 80 who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years AND have a 20-pack/year history (smoked a pack a day for 20 years or two packs a day for 15). Ask your provider for details. 

For more information on how to enroll in this screening, please call our Lung Cancer Screening Coordinator at (603) 609-6320.


One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. Remember to do breast self-exams every month, and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms based on your age and health history.

The Wentworth-Douglass Breast Health Center in Portsmouth and Women’s Life Imaging Center in Somersworth, NH, both specialize in a full range of advanced imaging tools and technologies for diagnosing breast cancer, including Mammography and 3D Mammography (also called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis).

The advantages of 3D Mammography include greater diagnostic accuracy for all women and especially those with dense breast tissue. It can also detect tiny cancers not seen in 2D mammography alone, and 3D mammography can better distinguish harmless abnormalities from real tumors which means fewer callbacks and less anxiety.

To schedule your mammogram, call:
Wentworth-Douglass Breast Health Center (Portsmouth) - (603) 610-80802
Women’s Life Imaging Center (Dover) - (603) 742-6673

Pap Smears

A Pap Smear, or Pap Test, is a simple screening test that can help prevent cervical cancer. Pap Smears look for early abnormal changes in the cervix before they turn into cancer. All women should begin regular cervical cancer screenings, which can include PAP Smears and HPV tests, beginning at age 21. Pap Smears are recommended for most women ages 21-65 every three years, as long as their results are normal. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information on which screenings are right for you. 

Diagnostic Testing

Nuclear Medicine

Our nuclear medicine specialists use safe, painless and cost-effective technologies to image the body and treat disease.

Nuclear medicine imaging uses small amounts of radioactive materials to identify abnormalities very early.

Common screenings include:

  • Bone Scans
  • Thyroid Scans
  • Liver and Spleen Scans
  • Lung, or V/Q, Scans

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scans

Our doctors choose MRI as a noninvasive test to diagnose diseases. MRIs use a very strong magnetic field and radio waves to create images of the body.

They reveal more details than other imaging modalities, allowing the ability to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue.

Computer Tomography (CT) and Computer Axial Tomography (CAT) Scans

Our computerized tomography (CT) scans or computer axial tomography (CAT) scans are diagnostic imaging procedures combining X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body.

A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat and organs.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/CT Scans

A PET/CT scan combines two imaging techniques to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body. 

The PET scan is highly sensitive, detecting the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells in the body. 

The CT scan provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy, showing the location, size and shape of any abnormal cancerous growths.

Blood Tests and Blood Cell Counts

Physicians use blood tests to diagnose different types of diseases. Many chemicals in the blood may be measured to give clinical experts information about the functioning of the body’s systems.

Counting and examining blood cells also are critical in the diagnosis of blood cell diseases.

Opt for professional, high-tech screening, close to home.

Contact Us

(603) 742-8787

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