START YOUR NEW YEAR WITH A NEW WELLNESS RESOLUTION
Carolynn Nesselrodt, BSN, RN
Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders
The year of 2022 is already upon us, and after nearly two years of pandemic talk and stress, we are ready for better health, wellness, positivity and less COVID discussions! With gradually decreasing positivity rates, higher vaccine numbers, and a new year, what better time than now to shift the conversation to setting goals and resolutions of maintaining better health overall?
As nurses, we know how important it is to see a doctor for regular checkups and screenings. Prevention is key to successful outcomes as it can directly impact prognosis. Often delaying a checkup or putting off seeing a physician out of fear happens but it is not needed; we are here to help. The easiest and most important treatment for cancer, or most health conditions for that matter, is prevention. So, let's discuss how you can set a new year's resolution for better health and wellness.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), men and women ages 18-39 should see their primary care provider regularly—annually for a physical or sooner for concerns or questions. This gives your doctor the opportunity to check your blood pressure, your blood work, provide a breast or testicular/prostate exam, update your vaccines if needed, and assess for any other health concerns that may require further investigation. These annual physical exams give you and your doctor the opportunity to get ahead of your health and manage those modifiable diseases that plague Americans like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity and more.
Many screenings begin around age 40 per recommendation from the American Cancer Society (ACS).
- Women should begin receiving annual breast cancer screenings through mammogram detection around age 40 (Don't forget your monthly self-breast exams; they're so important ladies!).
- Everyone's "favorite" screening, the colonoscopy, should typically begin at age 45 and continue until 75. Colonoscopies are nerve provoking, but early detection saves lives!
- The ACS recommends cervical cancer screenings at age 25.
- Lung cancer screening recommendations can be based on age, smoking history, and other risk factors, and should be discussed with your doctor.
- Prostate cancer screenings typically start at age 50.
All these screening tests, and more, can start at different ages based upon different risk factors for every individual, which is why it is so important to have regular checkups and open discussions with your doctor.
The NIH and ACS both have very informative websites that go into further detail about what various screenings in tale and what risk factors may change your individual recommendations. I urge you to look at them. I encourage you to use your 2022 resolution to take a proactive role in your physical (and let's not forget emotional) wellbeing by scheduling your annual checkup now.
Here's to wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year!