As we age, it’s important to have health screening tests to diagnose and treat any potential life-threatening conditions. Here are a few of the most important procedures that should not be avoided compliments of OB-GYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim.
Colorectal cancer: The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 130,000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2015. The good news is that deaths from colon cancer are dwindling because colon cancer and rectal cancer can be caught early – or prevented altogether – with the use of colonoscopy screening.
During this procedure, benign polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. Colonoscopy is typically recommended every 10 years for adults starting at age 50. If you have risk factors such as a family history of colon cancer or have had pre-malignant polyps removed during a previous procedure, then you may need to have this test more frequently or at an earlier age.
Breast exam and mammogram: Every woman’s breast cancer risk get higher with age, so it’s important to get an annual mammogram beginning at age 50. Some OB-GYNs Montgomery County recommend that these exams begin as early as age 40. In addition to mammography, a manual breast exam should also be performed annually. Talk to your OB-GYN about when you should begin regular mammograms based on your personal history.
Pelvic exam and Pap smear: Older women are susceptible to cervical or vaginal cancer. Also, other conditions – such as urinary incontinence – can be diagnosed during a pelvic exam. Pap smears are recommended for women every three years. After the age of 65 – and if the women has had repeat negative pap smears prior to turning 65 – then her OB-GYN may determine that a pap test is no longer needed.
Vaccinations: Anyone over the age of 65 should have a vaccine to protect against pneumonia. Pneumonia infection is one of the leading causes of hospitalization for seniors.
Shingles vaccine: Shingles is a painful nerve infection and is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox and lies dormant in an individual after the initial chicken pox illness. The virus becomes reactivated in some older adults, which results in a shingles infection. Anyone over the age of 60 should be tested.
Annual flu shot: Seniors are much more likely to be hospitalized due to the flu. Many people do not realize that they are contagious with the flu virus even before they start to show symptoms. This is why in order to prevent the spread of flu to others such as the very young, pregnant women and the elderly, everyone should get an annual flu shot.
If you’re due, or overdue, for any of these screenings or vaccines/shots – don’t wait another minute – call the office of OB-GYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim today to schedule an appointment. Your health might just depend on it!