Why are screening tests important?
- Screenings can help spot diseases such as cancer early, when they're often easier to treat.
- Some tests can even help prevent cancer by finding precancerous problems that can be treated.
- Screening can alert you and your doctor to controllable health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Controlling health conditions now can protect your future health.
When you need to be screened can depend on things like your age, lifestyle, and personal or family health history. The following are some recommended screenings for people of average risk. If you have certain risk factors, your doctor may want you to have some screenings earlier or more often or may need more extensive types of testing.
- 1. Blood pressure tests. Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years - a yearly checkup should take care of this.
- 2. Cholesterol checks. Starting at age 20, have your cholesterol levels checked at least every five years.
- 3. Diabetes testing. Starting at age 45, ask your doctor if you need a blood sugar test to check for diabetes. These are typically recommended every three years for people 45 and older.
- 4. Colon screenings. Generally people 50 and older should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer and abnormal growths (polyps) that can be removed before they may become cancerous.
- 5. Skin cancer checks. Check your skin monthly for changes such as a new growth or a mole that changes in size, shape or color. Your doctor can also examine your skin.
- 1. Breast exams. Starting at age 40, check with your doctor about having a mammogram every one to two years to screen for breast cancer. Women should also have a clinical breast exam performed by her doctor in addition to her own monthly self-exams.
- 2. Pap tests and pelvic exams. To screen for cervical cancer and to help find treatable precancerous changes, have a Pap test every one to three years if you've been sexually active or if you're older than 21. Annual pelvic exams are advised.
- 3. Osteoporosis tests. Starting at age 65, bone density tests are recommended to screen for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis.
Let your provider help you decide which tests are appropriate and when they may be needed.
Special Screening Event:
5 for Life Day for Women: University of Utah Health Care's "5 for Life Day" is being held at the South Jordan Health Center on Saturday, May 18, 2013. This half-day program provides screenings for heart disease, breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, and osteoporosis. Due to the prep involved, colon cancer screenings (colonoscopies) are scheduled on a different date.
To learn more about the program, or to view a schedule of upcoming events, call 801-213-9299 or visit University of Utah Health Care.