American Cancer Society Prevention, Early Detection, and Survivorship Guidelines

The American Cancer Society has created guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cancer, as well as survivorship guidelines for the follow-up care of cancer survivors. Read complete versions of all our guidelines, find patient-friendly versions, and learn more about how ACS develops its recommendations here.

Cancer Screening Guidelines

Since 1980, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has introduced and periodically updated guidelines or guidance related to screening and/or informed decision-making about tests for early detection of cancers (and, in some cases, precursor lesions) of the breast, cervix, colon and rectum, endometrium, lung, and prostate. The ACS develops guidelines for cancer screening to meet the needs of clinicians, the general public, and policy. These guidelines address the populations for whom testing is recommended or not recommended, the recommended tests and testing intervals, and the benefits, limitations, and harms associated with testing for early cancer detection. In 2011, ACS revised its process for creating cancer screening guidelines to be more consistent with the new Institute of Medicine (IOM) standards for trustworthy clinical guideline development by creating a single Guideline Development Group for writing the guidelines, using independent systematic review of evidence, and requiring clear articulation of the benefits, limitations, and harms associated with each screening test included in the guideline. ACS recognizes its role as an important source of guidance about cancer screening for both health care practitioners and the general public. Therefore the updated methodology aligns with the IOM principles and represents a more transparent, consistent, and rigorous process for developing and communicating guidelines. This new methodology is currently being used to update the cancer screening guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer. If you want to know more, contact us at

See our Cancer Screening Guidelines and Overview Processes for information on how ACS develops its recommendations for cancer screening.

Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines

Since 1991, the American Cancer Society has published Nutrition and Physical Activity guidelines to advise health care professionals, policy makers, and the general public about dietary and other lifestyle practices that reduce cancer risk. These guidelines provide a summary of the existing scientific information about weight control, physical activity, and nutrition in relation to cancer. In addition to recommendations regarding individual choices, the ACS guidelines underscore what communities can and should do to facilitate healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors provide health care providers with the best possible information with which to help cancer survivors and their families make informed choices related to nutrition and physical activity, to improve treatment outcomes, quality of life, and overall survival.

Cancer Survivorship Care Guidelines

In 2014, based on recommendations from the National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center the American Cancer Society began releasing a series of cancer survivorship care guidelines to help primary care and other clinicians provide comprehensive clinical follow-up care to adult post-treatment cancer survivors. The National Cancer Survivorship Resource Center, a collaboration between the ACS and The George Washington University Cancer Institute, funded by a 5-year cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is coordinating with leaders in oncology, primary and survivorship care, and professional organizations and societies, to develop evidence-based recommendations addressing key elements of cancer survivorship care necessary for cancer survivors to achieve optimal health and quality of life.

Cancer survivors face potential physical, psychosocial, practical, spiritual, or information challenges that can begin during active treatment and persist post-treatment (long-term effects) or occur months or years after treatment ends (late effects). The cancer survivorship care guidelines address surveillance for recurrence, screening for second primary cancers, assessment and management of physical and psychosocial long-term and late effects of cancer and its treatment, health promotion, and care coordination and practice implications. The cancer survivorship care guidelines development process aligns closely with the ACS cancer screening guidelines process. The guidelines are developed by multidisciplinary expert workgroups specializing in the care of cancer patients and the treatment of long-term and late effects experienced by cancer survivors. The guidelines build upon available evidence from the current literature on cancer, its treatments, and effects; existing surveillance, screening, and symptom management guidelines; and standard clinical practice.