By Dr. Yvette Lu.
Take charge of your health for the new year!
Cancer, heart disease, and stroke are the leading causes of death in Canada. Fortunately, we have screening tests to reduce our risk from these diseases.
Have you done all the recommended medical screening tests for your age and risk level? Check out my talk and blog for an overview of what screening tests you should be talking to your doctor about plus some tips on setting health resolutions for the 2017.
Happy New Year!
— Yvette Lu (@yvettelu) January 4, 2017
- Screening test summary:
- pap tests for women over the age of 25 (new BC guideline) to screen for cervical cancer
- mammograms (x ray of breasts) for women starting at the age of 40 or 50 depending on your risk level to screen for breast cancer
- colon cancer screening for everyone starting at the age of 50, or sooner for those at high risk (stool test or colonoscopy).
- skin check for atypical moles (ABCDE rules)
- screening tests to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke:
- get your blood pressure checked yearly or every two years
- weight monitoring
- cholesterol if at high risk for coronary artery disease
- screening for diabetes by checking blood sugar
- screening for sexually transmitted and blood borne infections and making sure immunizations against preventable infections are completed and up to date (tetanus shot every 10 years, hepatitis vaccination)
- screening tests for prostate cancer are controversial – recent guidelines have recommended against PSA testing. Talk to your doctor at age 40 for people at high risk of prostate cancer, and age 50 or 55 for people at average risk
- screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm between 65-75 years old recommended, particularly for men and people who are smokers
- screening for osteoporosis may be indicated if you’re over 65 years old depending on your risk factors
- Lifestyle changes
- quit smoking
- exercise regularly
- eat healthy foods, more fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions
- maintain a healthy body weight
- get adequate sleep
- Keys to success:
- set a small goal that is achievable
- find a goal that motivates you!
- get help – talk to your doctor or call 811 to get help from a nurse or dietician to achieve your health goals
- set your goals with a friend so you will be accountable to someone
- write your goals down and make them specific
- examples of small goals:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park farther away at the office or supermarket so you have to walk
- Add 10 minutes of exercise to your week
- Don’t go shopping hungry
- Start reading labels and counting calories to become food aware
- Call the dietician line 811in BC
- Add a vegetable or fruit to your diet every day
- Substitute water for one of your usual drinks
- Use smaller plates to decrease portion size
- Reduce the size of the treats that you have
- Eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread
It’s my life: Canadian Cancer Society website on assessing your cancer risk