Screening Tests for Common Diseases

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Published on April 07, 2021

Screening Tests for Common Diseases

Photo of a doctor holding a card with the word "PREVENTION" printed on itKeeping up with your health is one of the most important ways to take care of yourself. Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to make sure you’re on track with your annual wellness checks and to see if you are up to date with any health screenings.

Screenings are instrumental in properly diagnosing and/or preventing a variety of medical conditions, including cancer. “Patients are encouraged to take an active role in their healthcare by scheduling screenings and doctor appointments, as necessary. Regular cancer screenings can help detect problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better,” said Roberto Madrid MD, vice president of medical group operations at PIH Health Physicians.

Here are some common screenings that can detect certain cancers:

Breast Cancer Screening

Breast cancer screenings begin at age 40 and should occur annually. The American College of Radiology states that mammography screenings have assisted in the reduction of deaths due to breast cancer in the United States by 1/3 since 1990. The goal of screening mammography is to detect breast cancer at an early stage when it is most treatable. In fact, cancers that are confined to the breast have survival rates greater than 98%. To schedule a mammogram, make an appointment online at PIHHealth.org/Mammogram.

Cervical cancer (Pap smear)

This test checks the cells from inside a woman's cervix for any changes that could lead to cancer. The cervix is the lower part of a woman's uterus that opens into the vagina. You may need this screening to look for cervical cancer or changes in cervical cells that might eventually lead to cancer. Major medical groups generally advise that women get regular Pap tests every three years starting at age 21. Getting a regular Pap test can be life-saving. Cervical cancer is a serious type of cancer in women. It is also one of the most treatable types when found early.

Colonoscopy Test

A colonoscopy is a test used to detect any abnormalities and remove polyps that can potentially cause colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the country, however it has a high cure rate—over 95%—if detected early. To learn more about colorectal cancer or colonoscopy, visit PIHHealth.org/Colonoscopy.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screenings are of the utmost importance for those who are 55 to 80 years old and have smoked a pack a day for over 30 years, are current smokers or who have quit smoking in the last 15 years. It is also a good idea to get screened if you’ve been exposed long-term to second-hand smoke or environmental pollution. For more information about lung cancer or to schedule a lung cancer screening, visit PIHHealth.org/Lung.

Schedule an Appointment

These are just a small selection of health screenings that can help detect cancer early—there are many more to keep in mind. Visit PIHHealth.org/Screenings to learn about cancer screening services at PIH Health. You can take action now and schedule an appointment with your doctor to see which screenings are most appropriate for you. To find a PIH Health Physician in or near you, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.