Baptist Health Corbin: Benefits of Early Detection
Doctor PAUL PEDERSEN discusses the guidelines for preventative health screenings and emphasizes the importance of the early detection and treatment of certain diseases and conditions.
Benefits of Early Detection Health Talks Transcript
Paul Pedersen, MD, Family Medicine
Diagnosing illness early often allows more straightforward treatment, with less impact on a patient’s life. There are actually a lot of screening tests that are common to both men and women. We’ll typically start screening at age 20 for hypertension and elevated cholesterol and later on in life for diabetes. Both men and women should be screened starting at age 50 for colon cancer, earlier if they have some individual risk factors — same with lung cancer at 55. Then, there are individual screening tools for men and women. Women should start to be screened for cervical cancer at age 21 and for breast cancer at age 40. Breast cancer is the second leading cancer killer in women and that earlier detection generally favors a better prognosis. Men should start considering prostate cancer screening at age 50. These screening guidelines are just that — they are guidelines. They help a discussion with our patients about what might be appropriate for them. But it is really important to individualize it, because each of our patients has a different family history, a different lifestyle and a different health goal, and we need to find out what’s best for them. I think it’s a good idea for patients to go to their healthcare provider and ask them, “What should I be screened for?”