Community Outreach  > Community Health Initiatives  > Cancer Screenings 

Cancer Screenings

Smiling Man
Free Cancer Screenings From Palmetto Health's Cancer Health Initiative

The Challenge
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in South Carolina, with minorities dying at higher rates than Caucasians. Barriers, such as a lack of health insurance or transportation, can prevent access to health care, leading to late diagnosis and poor chances of survival.

The Solution
To help, Palmetto Health's Office of Community Health has developed a community cancer education and prevention program that provides screening for those who are uninsured and/or who have limited access to health care.

Free Screenings include:

  • Clinical breast exams and mammograms for breast cancer
  • Pelvic exams and Pap tests for cervical cancer
  • PSA blood tests and digital rectal exams for prostate cancer

How Palmetto Health's Cancer Initiative is Unique
Palmetto Health's Cancer Health Initiative is unique because it offers education, screening and case management. The Office of Community Health also provides financial assistance for the initial cost of follow-up care.

How to Get a Free Screening

Visit One of Our Clinics
Screenings are offered at Palmetto Health Women's Center, 1801 Sunset Drive, Columbia. Breast and cervical cancer screenings are available Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30–7 p.m., and the second Saturday of every month, 8 a.m.–noon. Prostate screenings are held the fourth Thursday of every month, 5:30–7 p.m.

For more information, or to make an appointment at one of our clinics, call CareCall at (803) 296-2273 or toll free (800) 249-4340.

Come to a Community Screening
Prostate cancer screenings are held Thursdays, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at Palmetto Health Baptist, 1501 Sumter Street basement, in the Community Health conference room. Walk-ins are welcome.

We also offer free screenings at health fairs, churches, worksites and other community locations throughout Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties. For a list of events, visit or call 296-3070.

Cancer Facts

Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American males. African-American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer.

Risk Factors

  • Age (African American men over 40 and Caucasian men over 50)
  • Family history
  • Race (African American)
  • High-Fat diet

Signs and Symptoms

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urinating often, especially at night
  • Blood in the urine

Screening Test

  • Yearly Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).

Screenings should start for African-American men (and other minorities) at age 40 and Caucasian men at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of prostate cancer.

flowerBreast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in women. One out of eight women will develop cancer in her lifetime. Men can have breast cancer, although the incidence is low. The signs and symptoms are the same for men as for women.

Risk Factors

  • Gender – being female
  • Age – older than 40
  • Family history
  • Women who have never been pregnant or who first became pregnant after age 30
  • Women who had their first period at a young age
  • Women who went through menopause at an older age
  • Women who are obese and whose diets are high in fat and calories

Signs and Symptoms

  • Breast lump
  • Thickening or bleeding from the nipple
  • Skin irritation
  • Skin retraction

Screening Test

  • Monthly self breast exams (one week after a period) for women age 20 and older
  • Yearly clinical breast exams for women age 18 and older
  • A baseline mammogram at age 35, and yearly beginning at age 40

Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is highly curable if it is found early. It occurs most often in women over the age of 40.

Risk Factors

  • Age (over 40)
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection
  • Pap test history
  • Sexual history – multiple partners or sex at an early age
  • Smoking

Signs and Symptoms
There are no noted symptoms.

Screening Test
A yearly pelvic exam and Pap test is recommended for women who have reached the age of 18, or who have been sexually active.