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Fight Disease Before It Strikes

According to the National Institutes of Health, regular screenings can prevent many of the leading health problems today, and maintaining a screening routine becomes even more important as we age.

“Many patients do not receive screenings because they do not suspect problems with their health,” says Victoria
McGrath, D.O., internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen. “However, many screenings can detect the presence of abnormalities and conditions such as heart disease and some cancers before symptoms appear.”

Dr. McGrath recommends the following screenings to help keep you healthy and happy as you age:

• Colonoscopy. Both men and women should begin receiving colonoscopies every 10 years beginning at age 50 or
sooner if they have a family history of colon cancer.

• Pap test. Women should receive a Pap test each year beginning at age 21 or when they become sexually active.

• Mammogram. Screenings should begin at age 40 or earlier if a patient has a family history of breast cancer.

• Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Men should speak with a physician about receiving a PSA exam each year beginning at age 50. For African American men and others at high risk for developing prostate cancer, Dr. McGrath advises screenings should begin earlier.

• Blood work. Each year beginning at age 20, patients should have a complete chemistry profile performed, which can detect warning signs of kidney and liver disorders, diabetes and cholesterol levels that may indicate health concerns.

• The “birthday suit” test. Beginning in their mid-30s, everyone should check their bodies for suspicious moles (those that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, change color, have a large diameter or change over time), which may be signs of skin cancer.

To find a physician at Texas Health Allen, visit TexasHealth.org/FindaPhysician or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Spring 2010)

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