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Thoughts on Preventative Medicine (3 of 3)

Posted: February 23, 2014 at 10:44 am by

We’ve touched on the basics, and then went a little further to discuss more sensitive issues. There are also screening tests that are relevant only to men or only to women. This will be the third and final part (for now) of my basic thoughts on preventative medicine.

Although there is some disagreement as to how often screening mammography should be performed, most physicians agree that at age 40, one should start screening every 1-2 years. Over age 75 screening should be done every year. Of course, if at any point you feel a mass (regardless of whether the mammogram was normal), this needs to be examined and a diagnosis made right away. The earlier you find breast cancer, the more likely that treatment will be effective.

The recommendations for Pap smears have changed. From age 21-65 a woman should be screened every 1-3 years – I generally recommend doing the test 3 times in 5 years. If they are all negative, screening can be done every 2-3 years.

Cervical cancer is generally caused by exposure to HPV – human pappiloma virus – through sexual transmission. Recently, a vaccine (Gardisil) was developed that reduces the chance of contracting HPV and will presumably reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in years to come. It is now recommended that all female adolescents receive the vaccine as well as women up to age 27.

There are a few recommendations for males as well. Males should do a testicular exam monthly and bring anything that seems abnormal to the attention of his health care provider. Between age 50 and age 70, most physicians perform tests of PSA – prostate specific antigen. As most of the time a high PSA doesn’t mean that a patient has prostate cancer, some physicians have questioned the validity of the test. My feeling is that the information from such a test can be helpful in diagnosis and developing a treatment strategy.

So, those are my initial thoughts on preventative medicine. Please leave some comments below – I’ll try to respond to any questions – and don’t hesitate to contact me directly would like to have something checked out ( 1-877-636-3996 ).

– Doctor Dave

Posted in: Blog