Have a question you forgot to discuss at the doctor’s office or are too embarrassed to ask? The experts at Samaritan Health Services are here to help. Feb / Mar
Q: I’m in my mid-40s and in generally good health. Staying on top of health screenings is important to me. Aside from a routine mammogram, what other cancer screenings are recommended at my age?
A: First off, great job taking a proactive role in your health. Screenings like mammograms for early detection of cancer are so important. Another equally vital screening is for colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum). While this is a common screening, it is often delayed due to anxiety or embarrassment.
Why make it a priority? Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., with 1 in 25 women receiving this diagnosis. When caught and treated early, survival rates are 90%.
So, when should you start this screening? Unless recommended otherwise by a health care professional, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now suggests getting screened beginning at age 45, whereas it was previously at age 50.
Several colorectal screening options are available, each of which have pros and cons regarding cost, time, discomfort and accuracy. It is best to talk with your primary care provider about which option is right for you.
— Naga Sai Krishna Patibandla, MD, Samaritan Hematology & Oncology Consultants
Q: There’s no need for women to worry about heart disease because that’s more of a concern for men, right?
A: Wrong! Heart disease is the most common cause of death in women — yet women tend to care for others first and take care of themselves in whatever time is left over in their day. That’s why we urge all women to care for themselves as they would for others, especially when it comes to their heart health.
First, be aware that heart attack symptoms are different in women than in men. Pay attention if you have discomfort or pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders or upper back; shortness of breath; pain in one or both arms; abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or unusual indigestion; or lightheadedness, dizziness or unusual fatigue. If you experience any of these, contact your primary care provider right away. If it seems life-threatening, call 911.
We know it’s not healthy to smoke, to be overweight, to be overloaded with stress and to be too sedentary — but it can be difficult to take the first step to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Try reaching out to a friend who is a good role model and ask for encouragement or friendly competition. Ask your doctor for medical assistance and resources. Go online to trustworthy medical websites such as samhealth.org/Heart for tips and ideas.
— Jacquelyn Sinclair, FNP, Samaritan Cardiology-Corvallis
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Call Samaritan Health Services Find a Doctor line at 800-863-5241 to find a provider who is right for you.