As a WCH Friends Program member, you already understand the importance of being proactive when it comes to your health. We applaud you – and we aim to make it easy and cost-efficient for you and your loved ones to be as healthy as possible. Good preventive healthcare includes regular check-ins with your primary care provider, prompt medical attention for health problems as they arise, as well as undergoing recommended healthcare screenings that can identify the earliest signs of disease or illness.
WCH Friends Program members enjoy discounts on select preventive healthcare screenings and more.
Common Healthcare Screenings
Many of these screenings are recommended on a regular, ongoing basis. In some cases, your age, current health, family healthy history, and the presence of risk factors for disease will determine which screenings you should have – and when (or how often). If you’re in doubt, ask your healthcare provider or which preventive healthcare screenings are right for you.
The following are some of the most common cancer screening recommendations:
A colonoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a flexible tube is used to help your doctor examine the inside of your large intestine to look for precancerous polyps. The procedure is not painful and is performed while you are under sedation. It is recommended for all adults, beginning at age 45.
For more information or to schedule a screening colonoscopy, call (330) 202-5686.
A clinical breast exam, or CBE, is conducted during a woman’s annual well-woman visit. This physical examination is conducted by your doctor and is used to look for any abnormalities in breast tissue. It is recommended for all women, beginning at age 20.
Mammograms are digital X-rays of breast tissue. It provides a detailed picture that is used by trained and experienced radiologists to identify tumors and other abnormalities that could be early signs of breast cancer. It is often recommended that women undergo a mammogram every year, beginning at age 40 – although this can vary, depending on your risk factors for the disease.
Dr. Vandevelde and Dr. Marcanthony share the importance of breast cancer screening in the video below:
To schedule an appointment, call our scheduling line at (330) 263-8660.
A Pap smear is the name of the test performed, usually as a part of a woman’s annual well-woman visit, to screen for signs of cervical cancer. During a pelvic exam, a special brush is used to gently collect sample cells from the surface of the cervix. This sample is sent to a laboratory for further analysis. A Pap smear is recommended for women beginning at age 21.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men that is located just under the bladder and at the front of the rectum. It produces some of the fluid that helps transport sperm from the testicles and out the penis during ejaculation.
Assessing a man for signs of prostate cancer is typically a two-step process:
- PSA blood test– a sample of your blood is analyzed for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA levels can vary significantly among men, so there is no specific level that indicates cancer. That said, in general, higher levels – such as 4.0 ng/mL or above – are more likely to indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)– Your medical provider will insert a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for anything abnormal in the area of the prostate.
A prostate cancer screening is recommended for men, beginning at 40, 45, or 50, depending on your risk factors for the disease.
Skin cancer screenings are typically conducted by a dermatologist. It involves a visual inspection of the skin, looking for moles or abnormalities that might indicate skin cancer. A skin cancer screening typically involves the entire body – from your scalp to the soles of your feet, even between your toes! It is usually performed annually, beginning in your 20s or 30s, depending on your history of sun exposure and any family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma. All adults are recommended to get regular skin cancer screenings.
The following are some of the most common general preventive care screenings recommended by doctors:
Blood tests are the first method typically used to identify systemwide abnormalities in the body. A sample of your blood is analyzed in a laboratory for a wide variety of health purposes, including to identify:
- Early signs of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
- How well your kidneys, liver, heart, and thyroid are functioning
- A current infection
- How well current treatments (e.g., medications) are working for you
Blood tests are typically run during an annual check-in with your primary care provider. These screenings may also be ordered if you are sick or have a particular complaint. If you have specific concerns, be sure to tell your doctor, because specific types of blood test analyses may need to be ordered.
With age, the bones in our bodies become less dense and more porous, a condition called osteoporosis. This makes our bones more susceptible to fracture. A bone density screening is a type of noninvasive, painless imaging test that can help determine whether you have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Bone density screenings are recommended by age 65 for women and 70 for men. Your doctor may recommend you have a screening earlier if you have risk factors for osteoporosis.
If you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can contribute to a host of medical problems. This includes your ability to ward off infections and illness, as well as leading to conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Insufficient sleep can cause daytime sleepiness, which can increase your risk of car accidents and home or workplace injuries.
Sleep disorders run the gamut and include sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and more.
The WCH Sleep Disorders Center is staffed with sleep medicine specialists who can help get to the root of why your sleep is being disturbed – and help you fix it. This may involve an evaluation, keeping a sleep diary, overnight sleep studies, and guidance on how to use any needed respiratory equipment, such as a CPAP for sleep apnea.
Sleep studies may be recommended if your symptoms indicate you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as sleep apnea.
The following are some of the most common heart health screenings recommended by doctors:
Keeping a close eye on your blood pressure levels can tell a lot about the stress your heart is under. When your blood pressure is high, it indicates your heart is having to work harder than it should. Left untreated, high blood pressure can damage the heart and lead to heart failure.
If you’d like to use an at-home blood pressure device, it’s important to take a reading at the same time every day. Your blood pressure will go up and down throughout the day, so measuring your blood pressure two times a day may even be recommended. Some prefer to measure it once in the morning – at least 30 minutes after you wake up but before coffee and breakfast – and again before bed. Doing this can help you identify what is normal for you and what fluctuations are significant.
High cholesterol levels cause plaque to build-up inside your arteries, reducing the amount of blood that can easily travel through these blood vessels back to the heart. If the arteries become blocked or a blood clot obstructs blood flow, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Like high blood pressure, monitoring your cholesterol levels is the usual first step toward ensuring good heart health.
An electrocardiography – also called ECG or EKG – is a quick and painless diagnostic test typically conducted in your doctor’s office. It is used to identify potential abnormalities with how your heart functions.
The test is entirely noninvasive: electronic sensors with a sticky side are adhered to your skin, and you will be asked to lie still for several minutes. During the test, the electrical activity of your heart will be recorded and graphed in such a way to make any heartbeat or heart rhythm abnormalities obvious.
An EKG may be recommended if you are experiencing symptoms related to heart health, such as shortness of breath or irregular heartbeats. It may also be required prior to a surgery, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
An echocardiography, or “echo” for short, uses ultrasound technology to measure how well blood is moving through your heart. This non-invasive and painless heart screening involves gently gliding a hand-held device on the skin over your heart. Harmless sound waves are sent into your body to create a real-time image of the movement of your heart. This screening is typically only conducted if you are experiencing heart-related symptoms.
During a cardiac stress test, an EKG is conducted during periods of physical exertion to measure your heart’s ability to function under stress. This type of test is usually conducted using a treadmill or stationary bicycle – although, for patients who are unable to use that equipment – medication may be provided that makes the heart work harder in order to conduct the stress test.
Blood flow studies can identify how well blood is flowing through your veins and arteries. Vascular studies are typically recommended for those 40 or older with risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Ultrasound and Doppler technology are used to conduct vascular studies. These are noninvasive exams, in which a hand-held device is simply glided over the skin while sound waves echo off tissue inside you, including bouncing off the blood traveling within blood vessels. The machine will make a “whoosh” sound when it detects blood flow. Any changes in the pitch of this sound are tracked and recorded, which can identify areas where blood flow is restricted.
Vascular studies can identify the presence of blood clots or aneurysms, valve problems at the heart or legs, and blocked or narrowed arteries.
The following are some of the most common vaccines recommended by doctors to reduce your risk of contracting a particular infection or medical condition – or to reduce the severity of your symptoms, should you contract it.
These vaccines are safe and effective and are reformulated each year to best address the viral strains most likely to be circulating that season.
All adults should get a flu shot every year with rare exceptions.
The Wooster Community Pharmacy administers this vaccine, for more information, call (330) 202-5570.
Also referred to as the Zoster recombinant vaccine, this series of two shots is recommended to help prevent shingles. The first shot is typically given at or after the age of 50.
Shingles is a painful, blistering condition that can occur in anyone who previously had chickenpox – itself caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which remains dormant in your body long after the chickenpox has come and gone.
If you get shingles, prompt treatment can help speed up your healing, although it cannot cure it. Shingles is contagious and can be spread to anyone who either hasn’t yet had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine.
The Wooster Community Pharmacy administers this vaccine, for more information call (330) 202-5570.
The Td vaccine offers protection against two potentially life-threatening diseases: tetanus and diphtheria.
- Tetanusis a bacterial infection, commonly contracted when the skin is cut and Clostridium tetani bacteria (usually found in soil and animal feces) enters the body. Contrary to popular belief, a rust doesn’t cause tetanus – anything that breaks the skin and allows the tetanus bacteria to enter the body does. Tetanus causes painful muscle contractions, including lockjaw, which can make it difficult to open the mouth or swallow. Almost all cases of tetanus in the U.S. are due to a lack of vaccination or a timely booster.
- Diphtheriais a serious potentially life-threatening condition that can cause breathing difficulty, heart failure, and death. It is not common in the U.S., where most people have been vaccinated against it.
The Tdap vaccine also protects against tetanus and diphtheria – plus pertussis (whooping cough), a highly contagious bacterial infection that can cause violent coughing and make breathing difficult. Whooping cough symptoms may be less severe for adults but can be deadly for babies and young children.
After the initial vaccination, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC recommends all children and adults receive either a Td or Tdap booster every 10 years for wound management.
The Wooster Community Pharmacy administers this vaccine, for more information, call (330) 202-5570.
Would you like to know more about preventive healthcare screenings? We’re happy to help! Call the WCH Friends Program office at (330) 263-8462. We can also help you find a primary care physician, should you need one.