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Preventive care saves lives

According to the Centers for Disease Control(CDC), if everyone in the United States received recommended clinical preventive care we could save over 100,000 lives each year.

What is preventive care?

Preventive care includes health services like screenings, check-ups, and patient counseling that are used to prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems, or to detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.

Annual exams and flu shots

Getting preventive care is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your health. That's because when a condition is diagnosed early, it is usually easier to treat. And regular checkups can help you and your doctor identify lifestyle changes you can make to avoid certain conditions.

You should visit your health care provider from time to time, even if you are healthy. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. A simple blood test, which can be done daily at CCH Wellness, can check for these conditions.

Get a flu vaccine every year. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu, a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Everyone over six months of age should get a flu vaccine, and is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications. Remember, flu vaccination cannot cause the flu. You may still get the flu even if you have a flu vaccine, but your symptoms will be less severe.

If you are age 60 or older, get shots for older adults. Older adults need shots to protect against diseases like pneumonia and shingles.

Health screenings

Mammograms

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About one in eight women born today in the United States will get breast cancer sometime during her life. The good news is that mammograms can help find breast cancer early. Most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast. It lets your doctor see changes that can’t be felt during a breast exam. Mammograms use a very low level of x-rays, which are a type of radiation. A mammogram is very safe. When you get mammograms, the technician will place your breasts, one at a time, between two plastic plates and take pictures of them. Mammograms can be uncomfortable for some women, but they don’t hurt. It only takes about 20 minutes to get a mammogram.

The American Cancer Society recommends these guidelines for breast cancer screening for women at average risk:

  • Ages 40-44: Start annual mammograms if they wish to do so
  • Ages 45-54: Get a mammogram every year
  • Ages 55 and older: Switch to mammograms every two years or continue annual screening. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 years or longer.

Prostate Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their healthcare provider about whether to be screening for prostate cancer. The discussion should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and expected to live at least 10 more years
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer younger than age 65
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age

After this discussion, men who want to be screened should be tested with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.

Colonoscopy

If you are age 50 to 75, get tested (screened) regularly for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer. But the good news is that getting screened regularly can help find colorectal cancer early – or even prevent it. You may need to get tested before age 50 if colorectal cancer runs in your family. Talk with your doctor and ask about your risk for colorectal cancer. How often you get screened will depend on your risk for colorectal cancer. It will also depend on which screening test is used. There are different ways to test for colorectal cancer. Some tests are done every one to three years. Other tests are done every five to 10 years. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you and how often to get screened.

Most people can stop getting screened after age 75. Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.

When it comes to finding care for your loved ones, you want the very best. The team of experienced surgeons and anesthesiologists from Campbell County Health Surgical Services can provide just that. CCH offers surgical services in two locations: Campbell County Memorial Hospital and Powder River Surgery Center. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/surgery.