skip to main content


What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer affects either the large intestine, also called the large bowel or colon, or the passageway connecting the colon to the anus. Colorectal cancer usually starts as a polyp, an unwanted growth, that shouldn't be in the colon. Over time, these polyps can develop into cancer. Polyps can be found by a colonoscopy and can be removed before they develop into cancer. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women, usually over the age of 45, and the chances of getting it increase with age. If you are 45 or older, a routine colorectal cancer screening could save your life.


Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

It is possible for someone to have colorectal cancer or polyps and not even know it. However, if symptoms are present, they can include: 

  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood in or on stool
  • Persistent problems in the abdomen, such as stomach pains, aches, feelings of fullness, and cramps
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
You may be at increased risk if:
  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
  • You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
  • You use tobacco, are obese, or live a sedentary lifestyle

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is the best method of screening for polyps and colon cancer. Preparation for a colonoscopy involves avoiding certain foods for a short period of time and then eliminating debris from the large intestine by drinking a solution that stimulates emptying of the bowels.

The actual procedure involves inserting a tiny camera through the anus into the rectum and colon. Through the camera’s lens, the doctor can look for polyps along the entire length of the colon. Polyps found in the colon can often be removed immediately and tissue samples are sent to the laboratory to determine if cancerous cells are present. The procedure is done while the patient is under an anesthetic. Therefore, it is important that the patient be accompanied by someone after the procedure.

Learn More About When to Get a Colorectal Cancer Check



What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer usually starts as a lump in the breast; however, lumps in the breast do not always result in cancer. An X- ray of the breast, known as a mammogram, can be used to detect abnormal growths in the breast. The American Cancer Society recommends that average-risk women have screening mammograms annually, starting at age 45 (age 40 if desired), and every 2 years beginning at age 55. Women with increased risk or family history may need mammograms starting at a younger age, or more frequently. Clinical breast exams can also be used to detect breast lumps; however, women aged 40 and older are advised to obtain a mammogram in addition to an annual clinical breast exam. Clinical breast exams are recommended annually starting at age 21.

You may be at increased risk for breast cancer if:

  • You have used hormone replacement or oral contraceptives for a long time
  • You, your mother, sister or daughter has had breast cancer
  • You have more than one drink of alcohol a day
  • You have never been pregnant before or you had your first baby after age 30
  • You are overweight or not exercising regularly

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

It is possible for someone to have breast cancer and not even know it. Women are encouraged to be aware of the way their breasts normally look. If symptoms are present, they may include:

  • New lump in the breast or armpit
  • Thickening or swelling of part of your breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple area
  • Pain in any area of the breast
  • Change in size or shape of the breast
  • Redness or discharge from the nipple


What is a Mammogram?

Learn More About When to Get a Breast Cancer Check

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that affects the cervix --- a narrow area that connects the womb to the vagina (birth canal). Having a Pap test helps to reduce the chances of developing cervical cancer. During a Pap test, a doctor collects a sample of cells from the cervix. These cells are then tested in the laboratory for any abnormal cells. It is recommended that women have screening Pap tests every 3 years from age 21-29 and every 5 years from age 30-65 with an HPV test. You may be at increased risk for cervical cancer if:

  • You smoke
  • You have used birth control pills for a long time
  • You have had many children
  • You have had many sexual partners
  • You have a virus called human papillomavirus

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer

It is possible for someone to have cervical cancer and not even know it. However, if symptoms are present, they may include: 

  • Bleeding outside of your usual menstrual period
  • Unusual menstrual periods that last longer or are heavier
  • Bleeding after menopause, sexual intercourse or pelvic exam
  • Vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or pain during sex


What is a Pap Test?

Learn More About When to Get a Cervical Cancer Check

What is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer usually starts in the liver. The liver is a football-sized organ that is located under your ribs on the right side of your body, which is just beneath your right lung, and has two lobes (sections). A blood test, called an HCV antibody test, can be used to detect if someone has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus. This blood test looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus in the blood. Liver cancer screening is recommended only for adults at increased risk, the American Cancer Society recommends those who have an increased risk or family history to be screened with blood tests and ultrasounds every 6 months.

You may be at increased risk for liver cancer if:

  • You are overweight or obese
  • You have a long-term hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection
  • You smoke cigarettes
  • You drink too much alcohol
  • You have cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or hemochromatosis (condition in which too much iron is stored)
  • You have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (extra fat in the liver that is not caused by alcohol)
  • You have diabetes
  • You eat foods that have aflatoxin (fungus that can grow on foods such as grains and nuts that have not been properly stored)
Symptoms of Liver Cancer?

It is possible for someone to have liver cancer and not even know it. However, if symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen on the right side
  • A swollen abdomen
  • A hard lump on the right side just below the rib cage
  • Pain near the right shoulder blade or in the back
  • Feeling very full after a small meal
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss for no known reason 

Learn more about when to get a liver cancer check


What is lung cancer?

Lung cancer happens when cells in the lung mutate. Lung cancer can affect any part of the respiratory system. When cells mutate, they grow and cluster together, forming a tumor. Typically it starts in the cells lining the bronchi and parts of the lung, such as the bronchioles or alveoli. There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Causes and risk factors associated with lung cancer include smoking, radon, hazardous chemicals, particle pollution, and genes. Lung cancer affects both men and women and mainly occurs in older people aged 65-84 years old.


Symptoms of Lung cancer?

Most lung cancers do not have any symptoms during early onset stages. However, some people do experience earlier stage symptoms. Some of the most common lung cancer symptoms are:

  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that won't go away or keeps coming back
  • New onset of wheezing

When cancer spreads to other parts of the body:

  • Nervous system changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), from cancer spread to the brain
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), from cancer spread to the liver
  • Swelling of lymph nodes (collection of immune system cells) such as those in the neck or above the collarbone


What is a low-dose CT scan (LDCT)?

  • The only recommended screening method for lung cancer is a low-dose CT scan or more commonly referred to as a low-dose spiral computed tomography (LDCT) screening. No preparation is needed for this procedure. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a yearly lung cancer screening with LDCT for people who meet the criteria below:
  • Have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and
  • Smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years, and
  • Are between 50 and 80 years


The Texas C-STEP Lung Grant services are available to residents of Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Montgomery, Polk, Robertson, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, and Washington counties.


Our CPRIT colorectal cancer grant has provided funding for hundreds of colorectal cancer screenings for uninsured Brazos Valley residents, or underserved residents who qualify financially. Our women’s health services grant has also provided hundreds of screening mammograms, clinical breast exams, Pap tests, and additional diagnostics for women in the Brazos Valley who are uninsured and age-eligible for these services. Our lung cancer grant also offers Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) screenings to uninsured, or qualifying underinsured persons who reside in the Brazos Valley and some eastern counties. Our C-STEP community health workers work with patients to ensure access and compliance. Navigation and support services are also in place, to assist in locating post-screening services should they be needed. Bilingual physicians and staff are available to all patients.

Texas C-STEP is dependent on referrals to maximize the availability of the free cancer screenings. Patients may be asked to complete a short qualifying application to determine financial need. Patients whose income and assets total up to 250% above federal poverty level may qualify for the free screenings.

For referrals/appointments, contact:

  • Breast/Cervical Cancer Screenings: 979.436.0453
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening: 979.436.0443
  • Lung Cancer Screening: 979.436.0499
  • Fax referrals to: 877.601.5854


Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • What tests would you recommend for me?
  • How do I prepare?
  • Do I need to change my diet or usual medication schedule? (delete or keep; not in patient brochure)
  • What is involved in the process?
  • Will it hurt?
  • When will I get the results?
  • Who will do the exam?
  • Do I need anyone with me?