Guidelines and programs for the early detection of cancer or cancer screening are based on the premise that outcomes are improved if the cancer is diagnosed and treated at the early stages of disease. However, there are also disadvantages to the early detection of cancer that must be considered when evaluating and establishing guidelines and programs. The Cancer Bureau of the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control at Health Canada has compiled a summary of existing guidelines for the early detection of various cancers. Recommendations have been provided by governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, health agencies and professional associations. Many organizations base their guidelines on current evidence and periodically update them as new evidence becomes available. Therefore, it is our intention to revise this compilation in the future to reflect any updates. Guidelines for the early detection of cancer are listed in the tables that follow for 12 different cancer sites: breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal, ovarian, skin, testicular, gastric, lung, pancreatic, bladder and oral cancers.