Learning about and practicing preventive healthcare, i.e. maintaining your body and good health throughout your entire lifetime, is properly the best method to prevent disease from happening in the first place.
Preventive health care provides many direct benefits to the individual, not having to deal with uncomfortable or painful symptoms, feeling more energetic and just being able to fully enjoy your daily activities.
This schedule is a suggested timeline for routine screenings.
Physical examination - every 2-3 years - to screen for diseases; assess risk for future problems
Bone Mineral Density test - at least once beginning at age 65; earlier depending on your risk factors for osteoporosis - there are no obvious signs of osteoporosis until you fracture a bone. Bone density screenings identify problems early, enabling you to start treatment and prevent further bone loss.
Mammogram - every 2 years starting at age 40 - to identify possible early signs of breast cancer
Clinical breast exam - about every 3 years for women in their 20s and30s and every year for women 40 and over – a good clinical breast exam can also help identify cancers relatively early.
Self-breast examination - monthly after the age of 20 years.
Colonoscopy - every 10 years from 40 – 75 years - to identify (and remove) precancerous polyps or early cancers.
Faecal Occult Blood test – Every 2 years from 40 – 75 years – to provide an early warning sign about colon cancer. Not as good as a colonoscopy in identifying cancers or precancerous cells.
Digital Rectal exam - starting at age 40, every 5-10 years with each colon screening- to help to find early sign of colon cancer in the anal canal and lower rectum. Because of its limitations, it is not recommended as the only test for colorectal cancer.
Fasting plasma glucose test (also called blood glucose test) - every 3 years starting at age 45; more often and earlier if you are overweight or at risk for diabetes - to provide an early sign of high blood sugar levels, which could mean an increased risk for diabetes.
Dental exam and cleaning - at least once a year; twice a year is best - to remove plaque and bacteria that could lead to tooth and gum disease; to check for tongue and mouth cancer.
Blood pressure screening - at least every 2 years – the only way to identify hypertension is with blood pressure screening.
Cholesterol screening - every 5 years starting at age of 35. Begin screening at age 20 if you smoke, are obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure or have a family history of heart disease - treating cholesterol abnormalities can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
PAP test - every 3-5 years for women ages 25-65. Women ages 25 -30 years should get a Pap test every 3 years. Women over 30 years should get a combined Pap test and HPV test every 5 years; if HPV testing is not available, they may get a Pap test every 3 years. Screening may be stopped for women over age 65 who have been adequately screened with normal results and are not at high risk for cervical cancer - helps to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.
HPV test - every 5 years along with Pap test in women ages 30-65 (and in younger women with inconclusive pap test)-The HPV test in combination with the pap test is better at identifying women at risk for developing cervical cancer than Pap test alone.
Pelvic exam - annually for women starting at age 21 or younger if indicated by medical history-as part of a preventive care visit to assess health, lifestyle and health risks.
Chlamydia test - yearly until age 25 if sexually active; for age 26 and older, get the test if you have new or multiple sexual partners - prevents spread of chlamydia.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screening – all sexually active women and their partners should be tested for HIV and other STDs before starting sexual activity - prevents spread of HIV and other STDs, many of which can only be detected through testing.
Skin exam by a doctor - if you have risk factors for skin cancer, your health care provider may recommend periodic skin exams - to track worrisome moles and identify skin cancer early.
Skin self-exam – monthly skin exam starting at age 18 - to know your own skin and be able to report changes to your health provider.
Thyroid screening with blood test called TSH starting at age 50 and every 5 years or if symptomatic sooner and more often.