Take Action at the Cancer Center
Over the past few decades, there has been an abundance of new research on treating cancer. Scientists around the world are always learning more, but there is still a long way to go to fully understand how to cure this disease.
However, there is one thing we do know: In many cases, the likelihood of successfully treating cancer improves greatly if it’s caught early.
At the University of Illinois Cancer Center, we are dedicated to helping our patients and community members catch cancer before it can enter the later stages where it grows and spreads. That’s why we offer many types of cancer screening services at UI Health/Mile Square.
Types of Screening
We screen for several types of cancer, including:
|Type of Cancer||Test Offered at UI Health|
|Breast Cancer||X-ray images of your breasts that look for changes or lumps that are too small for you or your provider to feel|
|Colorectal Cancer||Colonoscopy — a tube inserted into the rectum that looks for cancer or polyps (growths that can turn into colorectal cancer)|
|Lung Cancer||Low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan — a quick, painless scan that uses a very small amount of radiation to get detailed X-rays of your lungs|
|Prostate Cancer||Blood test that measures prostate specific antigen (PSA) — a substance that may be higher in men with prostate cancer|
In addition to screening, we also provide services such as tobacco cessation and weight management that can help you avoid some of the risk factors for cancer — and possibly prevent it from forming in the first place.
Breast Cancer Screening (Mammograms)
Mammograms are X-ray pictures of your breasts. A mammogram can find changes in your breast that are too small for you or your provider to feel. It is currently the best way to find breast cancer in most women.
A mammogram is not a perfect test, since it can still miss some cancers. But getting regular mammograms does increase your likelihood of finding breast cancer when it’s in its earliest stages and easiest to treat, and decrease your risk of dying from it.
Our Commitment to Breast Health for All
Black and white women have similar rates of breast cancer, but Black women have a higher chance of dying from the disease. The University of Illinois Cancer Center is on a mission to change that reality.
Since the financial burden of testing is why many women do not get mammograms, we offer free breast cancer screening services to women who qualify. We have provided free screenings to un- and underinsured women in all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods.
Who should get a mammogram?
You and your provider should discuss when to begin your yearly mammogram. The age you start depends on a number of factors, such as whether or not you have a family history of breast cancer.
Do you offer walk-in mammograms?
We hold walk-in hours (no appointment necessary) for mammograms every Monday through Friday from noon to 4 pm for patients with referrals. If you do not have a referral, you can come during our extended hours, which are held from 9 am to 3 pm on the second Wednesday of every month.
All screenings are held at Mile Square Health Center:
1220 South Wood Street
Chicago, IL 60608
For more information about walk-in mammograms, our community navigators are here to help:
Maria Perez and Brenda Soto
Walk-in mammograms are only for annual screening. Make an appointment at one of our radiology locations if you have:
- Dense breast tissue
- Fibrocystic breasts (breast cysts)
- Previous abnormal mammogram
- Pain, lumps, or discomfort in your breasts
UI Health Radiology
Outpatient Care Center, Suite 2C
1801 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL 60612
Mile Square Health Center–Main
Radiology Suite, First Floor
1220 S. Wood St.
Chicago, IL 60608
How do I prepare for a mammogram?
- Avoid lotions, perfumes, or deodorant on your chest area.
- You can take over-the-counter pain medication 30 to 45 minutes before your appointment to manage any mammogram-related pain.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages two to three days before your mammogram, as caffeine makes breasts sensitive.
Learn more about mammograms at UI Health ahead of time so you can feel a little more comfortable going in for the test.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Pap tests (also known as Pap smears) involve your provider taking samples of cells from outside of the cervix and vagina to find cancerous or precancerous cells. If precancerous cells are found, you can usually get treatment that will prevent cancer from forming. Some women may also get a test for HPV — the virus that causes cell changes that can lead to cancer — at the same time as their Pap test.
Who should be screened for cervical cancer?
Your provider can help you decide when to start receiving Pap and HPV tests, and how often you will need to get them. While you may be able to stop getting the tests after a certain age, your provider may recommend that you continue receiving them if you have had your cervix removed, such as during a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions like fibroids.
Cervical Cancer Screenings at UI Health
Cervical cancer screenings typically take place during your annual pelvic exam with your gynecologist. However, if you or your primary care provider are concerned, you can schedule an appointment for a Pap test.
Please call 866-600-CARE (2273) to make an appointment with a UI Health gynecologist.
Colorectal Cancer Screening (Colonoscopies)
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the US. If found in its early stages, it can usually be cured. And one of the best ways to find it early — or to stop it from forming at all — is through regular screening, such as colonoscopies.
During a colonoscopy, the provider will insert a thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum (don’t worry — you will be given medicine so that you don’t feel or remember any of the test). The test checks your rectum and colon for signs of cancer, or to find and remove polyps, which are growths that could become cancerous.
Who should get a colonoscopy?
Ask your provider if it’s time to start getting screened, since there isn’t one set time when people should begin getting colonoscopies. Your provider will recommend when to start based on several factors, such as whether or not you’re high risk. You may be considered high-risk if you have conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer.
Colonoscopies at UI Health
We provide colonoscopies for colorectal cancer screening for new and established patients in our state-of-the-art GI & Endoscopy Lab.
If you are a patient interested in scheduling a screening or follow-up colonoscopy, please call 312-413-7676 and leave a confidential voicemail message with your name, date of birth, and telephone number. We will contact you within 5 business days to schedule your appointment.
Lung Cancer Screening
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer — but if it is found early, it’s more likely to be successfully treated. Lung cancer screening uses low-dose computed tomography (CT). It allows us to find very small signs of cancer in its early stages and often before cancer causes symptoms. With low dose CT screening, patients are 20% less likely to die from lung cancer than those who do not get screened.
Lung cancer screening involves low-dose computed tomography (CT), which creates highly detailed X-ray images of the lungs. This scan is quick and painless, and only uses a very small dose of radiation.
Who should be screened for lung cancer?
Not everyone needs to be screened regularly for lung cancer. Talk to your provider about if you need to be screened and when. Their recommendation will be based on several factors, including your age, current smoking habits, and history of smoking.
Smoking Cessation at UI Health and Addressing Lung Cancer Disparities
Lung cancer screening alone might not be enough to prevent the disease. Cigarette smoking causes 85% of lung cancer deaths in the US, so if you are a smoker, it is just as important to quit smoking as it is to get screened.
In the US, Black adults do not smoke cigarettes as much as white adults, and are more likely to attempt to quit smoking. However, they are less likely to succeed. This is often due to limited resources, such as counseling. Black men and women are also more likely than white men and women to develop and die from smoking-related diseases like lung cancer.
At UI Health, we are dedicated to ensuring that resources for smoking cessation — the key to preventing lung cancer, along with screening — are available to everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. Our Tobacco Treatment Center can help you find the best approach to stop your dependence on tobacco.
The first step is to talk to your primary care provider or pulmonologist to see if you are a candidate for lung cancer screening. If so, they will order the scan for you and give you further instructions about scheduling an appointment and where to go for the test.
Prostate Cancer Screening (PSA Tests)
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men in the US. Screening usually begins with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. If PSA levels are high, it may be a sign of prostate cancer — and the earlier high levels of PSA are detected, the better the chance for survival.
The 5-year survival rate (percent of men who are alive 5 years after the cancer is found) is nearly 100%. Between 1993 and 2017, the death rate dropped by more than half, partly thanks to screening.
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a substance made by the prostate. High levels of PSA can be a sign of several types of conditions, including prostate cancer. The PSA test is a simple blood test.
Who should get a PSA test?
Talk to your provider about when to start getting screened for prostate cancer. Their recommendation for when you should start and stop screening — and how frequently you will need to be screened — will depend on several factors, such as:
- Overall health
- Family history of prostate cancer
- Previous PSA levels
- Race (Black men may need to start screening earlier)
PSA Testing at UI Health