We are in charge of our managing our health. When we don’t know what’s going on with our body, we aren’t really in charge.
If we want to maintain optimal health or begin addressing health issues through a combination of food and medical science, we need to know what’s going on inside our beautifully durable, self-repairing, intricate machine of a body.
Sure the poking, prodding and smashing inherent in many of these screenings may turn us off, yet as we age, these screenings are important, even if we eat well, work out and feel healthy.
Why Are These Screenings So Important?
Because our body changes in significant ways as we move beyond the child bearing years, the potential for certain health conditions increases.
Early detection of issues gives us the ability to help our body heal itself.
Data from the National Cancer Instititue’s SEER database states that the 5 year relative survival rate of breast cancer patients in various stages of cancer is:
Stage 0 – 100% survival rate
Stage I – 100% survival rate
Stage II – 93% survival rate
Stage III -72% survival rate
Stage IV – 22% survival rate
While those numbers are specific to breast cancer, the majority of treatable diseases generally respond best to treatment in their earliest stages.
What Health Screenings Are Necessary?
Mammogram: A mammogram is performed to check the breasts for cancer. This procedure usually begins at age 40 and is performed every one to two years. If a woman has certain risk factors, such as, family history, mammograms may need to be performed more often.
Speak with your doctor about how often it is needed in your case, and make an appointment as soon as possible. Women who neglect to get this screening may increase their risk of developing cancer or other problems and can miss out on all the benefits of early detection. It is better to be safe than sorry, so contact your doctor today.
Clinical Breast Exam: Complementary to a mammogram, this exam is performed by a nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or doctor. Using both mammograms and a clinical breast exam helps ensure optimal safety and assurance.
Self Breast Check: Each month women need to be looking at their breasts for changes in appearance and also checking for lumps.
If you’re not sure how to do this watch Kris Carr and Shaney Jo Darden show you exactly how it’s done.
Pap Smear and Pelvic Exam: This exam checks for cervical cancer and may have begun after you started having a regular menstral cycle, started having sexual intercourse of after a certain age.
The procedure is performed by a gynocologist or nurse practitioner in a doctor’s office and it’s recommended to be done every three years unless your doctor says otherwise.
HPV Test: If you started having Pap Smears and Pelvic exams before or during the 1990, you may not have heard about the HPV test. HPV is Human Pailloma Virus and it’s considered one of the causes of cervical cancer.
Studies are revealing that it takes 10 to 20 years for cervical cancer to develop for women who are infected with HPV. Because of this, the American Cancer Society, along with 25 other authority organizations, recommend that women ages 30-65 also have an HPV test at the same time as your Pap Smear.
Colonoscopy: This screening involves the insertions of a long, flexible instrument into the rectum in order to view the inside of the colon. It may sound uncomfortable, but, this test is necessary for detecting signs of colon cancer, such as, polyps and other growths. It’s recommended for women starting at age 50, unless your healthcare provider believes you meet certain risk factors.
Risk factors include, but aren’t limited to diets high in red meat/processed meats, physical inactivity, smoking, obesity, age, personal history of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and family/ethnic history.
The test is recommended once every 10 years unless you meet these and other risk factors as determined by your healthcare provider.
Regular Blood Work: A comprehensive blood panel is generally included as part of regular medical physicals. This blood panel detects high cholesterol, vitamin/mineral deficiencies, hormone levels, and other possible problems that can be treated as needed.
This isn’t a complete list of health screening tests. These are the basics. You may require more or fewer tests than others and it all depends on you as an individual, along with your medical and genetic/family health history.
Real, whole foods can absolutely aid in healing and maintaining a healthy body. However, early detection of issues gives you the best chance of preventing and treating disease.
Remember that you have the responsibility to take care of your body and your life. Don’t let health problems sneak up on you by being unprepared. Stay on top of your medical care, and speak with your doctor, ask questions and remain in tune with your body to ensure your good health.