Why preventative care? Preventative care is like fixing your kitchen sink – it’s a lot easier to stop a small leak than a flood of water. Rather than treating a condition after it develops, preventative care focuses on preventing disease and maintaining health. It can also help you recognize the signs of illness early on so that you can get treatment as soon as possible and reduce your risk of complications. Your preventative care should include tests, screenings, and vaccines.
Screenings can help detect cancer in its early stages, which greatly increases the chance of effective treatment. Ask your physician if and when you should start any of these screenings.
A mammogram is an X-ray image of the breast used to screen for breast cancer. It’s recommended that women start getting routine mammograms when they turn 40 and continue them every one to two years until age 70.
A colonoscopy is an exam used to identify changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. It can detect the early signs of colon cancer, which is the third most diagnosed cancer in the United States. It is recommended to get your first colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years after that.
A prostate screening and PSA blood test are used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. It is recommended that all men begin prostate screenings at age 50 and continue every year after that.
This test is used to screen for cervical cancer. It is recommended to receive a PAP smear every three years starting at age 21. If you have a family history, you should consult your physician about testing annually.
Having blood work done can help your physician determine if you have an infection, are anemic, or have other underlying health conditions. The frequency with which you should have blood work done will vary based on age, medical history and other factors, but many primary care physicians will include this in your annual checkup.
Depending on your gender, age, medical history and other factors, your physician may recommend that you get other tests and screenings done including:
- Tetanus shot
- Flu shot
- Shingles shot
- Dental exam
- Eye exam
- Bone density screening
- STD screenings
- Blood pressure screening