Two men jogging while talking about cancer screening for preventative healthcare

How to Talk About Cancer Screening With a Loved One

Medically reviewed by Morgan Spicer, Medical Communications Manager on March 1, 2024. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Keeping up with your health can be…challenging. And talking about cancer can be even harder, even if it’s just about getting screened. But regular screenings are recommended for a number of the most common forms of cancer, and they can be critical in detecting cancers at earlier stages. [1]

Why Is Cancer Screening So Important?

The American Cancer Society recommends regular screenings for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, cervical cancer, and prostate cancer. They also recommend endometrial cancer and lung cancer screenings for those who are at a higher risk of developing those cancers. [2]

Screening tests are used to find cancer in people who have no symptoms but may be at risk. Screening increases the chances of finding certain cancers early, when they are small, have not spread, and might be easier to treat. [3]

The good news? You don’t have to do it by yourself—in fact, you shouldn’t. Families, communities, friends, and loved ones should have open conversations about cancer risk factors, genetic predispositions, and the importance of regular screening. Talking to loved ones about what they can do to stay healthy isn’t always easy, but it could save a life.

Everlywell FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test CTA graphic

How to Talk to Someone About Cancer Screening

If you're worried about a family member or friend who has put off getting screened, start by letting them know you care. You can say things like, “I want you to live a long and healthy life,” or, “I want you to get tested so you don’t have to worry about [insert type] cancer.” [4]

Next, explain the reasons for getting screened. The prospect of finding cancer is frightening. It’s important to educate your loved one about how screening helps find cancer early when it’s easier to treat. You can say something like that, “Colorectal cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer, and your risk increases as you get older.” [4]

It’s also important to offer support, be non-judgmental, and empathize with their fears. You can ask what part of the test they’re most worried about, how you can make it easier for them to get tested, and remind them that you will support them no matter what. Maybe you can help them make an appointment, accompany them to the doctor, or even offer to provide childcare while they’re gone.

Lastly, many people are unaware of the different types of screening tests available. Encourage your family member or friend to ask their healthcare provider about their options to help decide which tests they may need, and if they have options for the screenings that they might prefer. You can even offer to help research different options.

For some, the biggest challenge is making and going to an appointment. Everlywell offers an easy, affordable way to take a first step toward preventive action with the at-home FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test. Our FIT Colon Cancer Screening Test is a simple, non-invasive way to regularly screen for colon cancer from the comfort of your home.

Remember, getting screened for cancer is an important part of your health, especially as you get older. Getting screened can be a scary first step, but it could save your life. Being proactive for yourself and others in your family and community is critical.

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What Is a “FIT Test”?


  1. Why Cancer Screenings are Important and How to Talk about them with your Doctor. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Published September 29, 2020. Medical Citation URL
  2. American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. American Cancer Society. November 1, 2023. Medical Citation URL
  3. Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Cancer Screening. American Cancer Society. April 21, 2021. Medical Citation URL
  4. Colorectal Cancer Screening: Conversation Starters. February 9, 2023. Medical Citation URL
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