I Scream For Screen: Screening Test Save Lives

Seek and you will find….  SCREEN, SCREEN, SCREEN

I scream for screening test because it saves lives and I hope one of them is yours.  Begin by knowing what screenings you are due for, and then please get your family health history.  What runs in families stays in families.
I cannot stress enough:   know your risk, know the screenings, and know the health history in your family.

My father was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 57.  He died 4 months later battling the pains and sometimes indignancy of cancer.  A few years later my uncle (his brother) was diagnosed with colon cancer and he too was gone within months.  I cried at each funeral as I also sat and contemplated how useless it was to die from a preventable disease if you just do your screenings.  The polyps of colon cancer take approimately 10 years to form.  They both were years past their recommended screenings, both had insurance, and they both were intelligent, they just didn’t feel sick and they did not believe it could happen to them.

But the truth of the story is, colon cancer does happen and for our family it clearly is in the ruts of our ancestors.   My great grandfather had colon cancer but it was nothing any one ever talked about.  What a shame.  What runs in families stays in families.  Respect that.

As a nurse practitioner I have seen enough now that I am a firm believer in following the recommendations for screenings.  I have seen polyps in the colon dissolve the future of cancer.  I have seen screening mammograms catch a cancer to small to detect with self breast exams alone.  I have seen high cholestorals bait someone into a stroke or heart attack.  It has happened enough that I pay attention.

It is no surprise then that when my husband turned 50 guess what he got?

That colonoscopy became a very expensive birthday present.  While I waited for the doctor to come discharge us after his colonoscopy I was surprised to find out that my husband had a mass.  The mass was to big to take out during the colonoscopy so we had to make an appointment to see a surgeon.   The surgeon looked at the pictures of the mass and recommended a right colectomy.  They wanted to take the tumor and all the colon before the tumor and after the tumor.

Life on hold, surgery set up and time taken off to prepare for recovery.  I was so scared wondering if it was cancer.  I was so scared “what if he dies during surgery?”.  So many uncertainties.  Luckily in the end the mass was diagnosed mostly benign, with a small part being precancerous.

Whether it is your colon, your breast, your prostate, I beg of you not to miss your screenings.

Have high blood pressure or diabetes?  Same goes for you.  Everyone feels fine until its to late to go back and fix it.  I have witnessed patients on disability because their blood pressure was too high to long that their heart is damaged past repair.  There is no turning back at that point.

So, just start out on time.  Do your screenings, do your follow ups, take responsibility for your health, don’t leave it up to someone else.  Get a provider, do your physical, follow up on any health concerns that are recommended and please, please don’t put it off.  We are only here for a time, make it the best and healthiest.  Our health depends on us paying attention and making time to go to the doctor twice a year for check ups even if we are healthy.

Here are the screening recommendations:

Preventive Screening Guidelines for Healthy Adults

Getting preventive care is one of the most important steps you can take to manage your health. That’s because when a condition is diagnosed early, it is usually easier to treat. And regular checkups can help you and your doctor identify lifestyle changes you can make to avoid certain conditions.

Please see the screening guidelines below to see if you’re up-to-date.1

Routine Checkups 18-29 years 30-39 years 40-49 years 50-64 years 65+ years
Includes personal history; blood pressure; body mass index (BMI); physical exam; preventive screening; and counseling Annually for
ages 18–21
Annually Annually
Every 1–3 years, depending on risk factors2
Cancer Screenings
Colorectal Cancer Not routine except for patients at high risk2 Colonoscopy at age 50 and then every 10 years, or annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT) plus sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
Skin Cancer Periodic total skin exams every 3 years at discretion of clinician Annual total skin exam at discretion of clinician
Breast Cancer (Women) Annual clinical breast exam and monthly self-exam
Annual mammography
at discretion
of clinician
Annual mammography
at discretion
of clinician
Cervical Cancer (Women) Initiate Pap test at 3 years after first sexual intercourse, or by age 21 every 1-3 years,3 depending on risk factors2
Testicular and Prostate Cancer (Men) Clinical testicular exam at each health maintenance
visit and monthly self-exam
Annual Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
or prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
blood test at discretion of clinician
Digital Rectal
Exam (DRE) or
antigen (PSA) blood
test if at high risk2
Other Recommended Screenings
Body Mass Index (BMI) At discretion of clinician (can be screened annually for overweight and eating disorders, consult the CDC’s growth and BMI charts)
Blood Pressure (Hypertension) At every acute/nonacute medical encounter and at least once every 2 years
Cholesterol Every 5 years or more often at discretion of clinician
Diabetes (Type 2) Every 3 years, beginning at age 45 or more often and beginning
at a younger age at discretion of clinician
Bone Mass Density (BMD) Test (Women) Consider your risk factors, discuss with you
clinician. BMD testing for all post-menopausal
women who have one or more risk factors for
osteoporosis fractures.
BMD test once,
or more often at
discretion of clinician
Infectious Disease Screening
Sexually Transmitted Infections
(Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HPV)
Annual screenings for sexually active patients under 25; annually for patients age 25 and over if at risk2
HPV is for age 26 and under, if not previously vaccinated.
Sensory Screenings
Eye Exam for Glaucoma At least once. Every 3–5 years if at risk2 Every 2–4 years Every 1–2 years
Hearing and Vision Assessment At discretion of clinician
Tetanus, Diphtheria (Td) 3 doses if not previously immunized. Booster every 10 years
Influenza Every year if at high risk2 Annually
Pneumococcal If at high risk2 and not previously immunized Once after age 65,
even if previously
Meningococcal (Meningitis) 1 or more doses if not previously immunized, depending on risk factors and other indicators2
Varicella (Chicken Pox) 2 doses given at or after age 13 if susceptible2


Immunization and Screenings for Healthy Adults.