A Woman's Resolution For Health
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Cincinnati Health & Life Magazine .
This Year, Commit to Screenings That Could Save Your Life
We've all played the New Year's Resolution game. By the time the ball drops above Times Square, we've made lofty plans and promises-but these often fall by the wayside and we're left right where we started. For 2017, you can change this frustrating pattern. Make a commitment to have the tests and screenings that can help you prevent disease or identify it early enough so that treatment will be effective.
"Health care screenings allow early detection of premalignant lesions or early stage disease," says Madiha Khan, M.D., an Ob-Gyn with TriHealth Associates. "Diagnosis and treatment of early-stage disease provide a better prognosis and higher survival rates." So, early detection is critical, but what screenings are most important? One of the most crucial is the colonoscopy.
"Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and it has been suggested that the initiation of colorectal cancer screening has decreased the death rate by 53 percent," Dr. Khan says. "There are multiple different methods to screen for colorectal cancer, and it's important to have a discussion with your doctor to decide which is best for you. Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard screening test, and it is the most widely used."
Equally critical to diagnosing problems before they become larger issues is the mammogram. In the U.S., a woman's lifetime risk for developing breast cancer is a bit less than 15 percent, and the majority of breast cancers are detected through mammograms. "In women 40 and older, mammography is the mainstay screening method, and studies have shown that it's the only screening modality that has decreased breast cancer-related mortality," Dr. Khan says.
Also, a woman should make a point to observe the schedule for cervical cancer screening, which has significantly decreased the incidence and mortality rate from cervical cancer. "Since the initiation of Pap smears in the 1950s, the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased by 70 percent," Dr. Khan says. "Pap smears allow for the detection and treatment of precancerous and cancerous lesions at an earlier stage."
As for other resolutions, Dr. Khan has some advice: "I think it's best to establish a game plan or timeline on how you planon achieving it. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in the next year, break it up into losing five pounds every two months. And creating a team atmosphere will help with motivation, involving your spouse, family, friends or even your doctor as your coach!"