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With the many technological advances available to us today, we are lucky to be able to care for ourselves with preventive tests, catching many health problems before they are out of control. Many preventive tests look for cancer, but tests are also available to screen for bone loss and of course, heart problems.
Below are some preventive tests common for women.
Breast Cancer Screening – Usually done yearly in women over 40, a mammogram x-rays breast tissue in search of cancer.
Colon Cancer Screening – Doctors recommend screening for colon cancer after age 50. This is done by colonoscopy, a procedure in which a fiber optic tube is inserted through the anus and up into the colon. This is the most thorough screen for colon cancer.
Osteoporosis Screening – Starting at age 65, doctors recommend a DEXA scan for all women. DEXA scans use x-rays and radiation to examine the rate of bone loss.
Cervical Cancer Screening – All sexually active women need yearly Pap smears. A Pap smear is a painless test where a gynecologist collects a small sample of cells from the cervix. The sample is then examined at a lab for any abnormal cells that could indicate cancer.
And men, you are not immune, you need your screenings too! Among the top screenings for men are blood pressure (every year after 50), Electrocardiogram (every 3 years after 50), Colon Cancer Screening (every 10 years after 50 and every 3 if "high risk" determined), and Prostate Cancer screening involves a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) as well as a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). After the age of 50, a PSA should be performed every year.