Preventative care and screenings are an important part of maintaining health and overall wellness. Screenings are tests that check for diseases before an individual shows physical symptoms. Screening can detect diseases in early phases of development, when they are more easily treatable. Most preventative screenings are available at your primary doctor's office. More complicated screenings require specialized equipment, available at specialty locations and clinics. Screening recommendation and necessity depends on a patient's family history, age and environment.
It's important to discuss preventative care and screening with your family physician. Here are some important screenings to keep in mind:
- Colonoscopy - Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Screening for colorectal caner with fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidscopy or colonoscopy can detect early-stage cancer and adenomatous polyps.
- Mammography - Screening with film mammography reduces the risk for breast cancer mortality, with a greater absolute reduction for women ages 50-74 years than for women ages 40-49. The greatest benefit is among women ages 60-69 years.
- Prostate Cancer Screening - Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in men, affecting 1 in every 7. In its early stages, prostate cancer often has no symptoms. Men at higher risk include those over the age of 65, African-American, obese, or have a family history of prostate cancer.
- Pneumococcal Vaccine - Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Common signs include: cough, fever and difficulty breathing. People at a higher risk of developing pneumonia include:
- Adults 65 and older
- Childen under 5
- People with existing medical conditions (diabetes, heart disease)
- People who smoke cigarettes or have asthma
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