Think Twice Before Delaying A Screening

health-screeningsEven though most doctors encourage their patients to have health screenings in a timely manner, we have the final say. If you’re good at procrastinating, you may want to consider the following facts.

Half of All Fatal Heart Attacks Show No Prior Symptoms – The American College of Cardiology reports that 50% of the 400,000 Americans who died of heart attacks in 2008 had no prior symptoms of heart disease. Since practicing cardiologists know it’s tough to screen patients with no signs of heart disease, they advise the use of common sense. In other words, known risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated “bad” cholesterol and of course, family history, must be recognized as reasons to see a cardiologist and talk about a screening.

50% of Cervical Cancer Patients Have Never Been Screened – The National Institutes of Health estimate that half of women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year have never had a Pap smear, with an additional 10% going without a screening for 5 years prior to their diagnosis. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women in their 20’s have a Pap smear every two years. Thereafter, Pap tests are recommended every 3 years as long as no abnormal results occur.

Only 1 in 16 Survive Colon Cancer at Stage 4 – If no history of colon cancer is present in your family and no symptoms occur, physicians recommend that you celebrate your 50th birthday with a colonoscopy. If the results are good, with no suspicious polyps, you can go another decade before having another. For those who think early detection doesn’t matter, the American Cancer Society reports a 74% survival rate with a Stage 1 diagnosis, but only a 6% survival rate when colon cancer has reached Stage 4.