Going to the doctor is not most people’s preferred way to spend time. As a result, it is often neglected. But with high stakes, going to visit the doctor for a regular screening can literally mean the difference between life and death—especially with the increasing accuracy of early detection technology.
Regular doctor’s check-ups help to track general health and identify possible areas of poor function. Time at the doctor’s office can serve to remind patients of the tangible consequences of their current lifestyles. As a result, it can help “health” stay relevant within their minds and, therefore, lead to self-led improvements in lifestyle. For example, improving diet, increasing exercise and prioritizing sleep.
Especially with respect to cancer, relying on symptom-driven intervention is not the most intelligent strategy in longevity and health resilience. For instance, tumors usually take years to form before they become symptomatic. However, blood monitoring can help identify them much sooner. In general, blood monitoring in yearly physicals will show imbalances before symptoms appear. They can show metabolic, immune or even hormonal changes before anything is powerful enough to be perceived. Regardless, when imbalances are detected in the blood, the root cause may be able to be identified and altered before disease progression snowballs into something that can only be managed, instead of cured.
The technology for cancer screenings has improved remarkably in the last decade. Screening’s are used for early cancer detection. Each screening is recommended at specific frequencies based on risk factors and age. Screenings are emphasized in breast, cervical, colorectal and lung cancer. Mammograms are used to screen for breast cancer. Pap tests are used to detect cervical cancer. Sigmoidoscopy’s, colonoscopy’s, stool tests and colonography’s can be used to screen for colorectal cancer. Low-dose CT scans are recommended for lung cancer. If a regular schedule has yet to be established for these screenings, it is recommended that the question be brought up in your yearly doctor visit.
Cancer is an intimidating prospect that promotes avoidant behavior in many people. Regardless of the evidence for the effectiveness of cancer screenings in doctor’s visits, many people don’t make it to the doctor regularly. But please try to make it a point to get screened. You can refer to the National Foundation for Cancer Research’s updated Cancer Detection Guidelines for appropriate timelines.