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Ten Common Prevention Tools

Screening tests are helpful in finding certain diseases at an earlier, more treatable stage. They can also lead to unnecessary tests and treatments that do more harm than good. We follow the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines because they are the most unbiased, scientific information available. But these are only guidelines: the final decision lies with you, in consultation with your doctor. And patients with symptoms or signs of cancer and other illnesses will be managed with diagnostic tests, not screening ones. Generally speaking, vaccinations are the safest and most effective treatments in all of medicine. The Quality Management section of your electronic medical record will tell you which screening tests and preventive measures are recommended and overdue.

  • Abdominal Aneurism: Age 65, an ultrasound performed once for men over the age 65 who have ever smoked.
  • Blood Clots: Age 50, uncoated chewable aspirin 81 mg daily or 325 mg every other day for people at risk for heart disease or stroke.
  • Osteoporosis: Age 65, a bone scan for all women, or earlier if risk factors exist.
  • Colon Cancer: Age 50, colonoscopy every 10 years or stool tests annually.
  • High Blood Pressure: Every office visit. Normal = 140/90 age 18-59, 150/90 age 60+.
  • High Cholesterol: Treat patients with diabetes and heart/kidney/vascular disease.
  • Breast Cancer: At age 50-74, mammograms for women every other year.
  • Cervical Cancer: At age 21, pap smears for women every 2 years; age 30-65, pap smears for women every 5 years if also tested for HPV.
  • PSA: Never routinely. It is often monitored after prostate cancer treatment.
  • Shingles: At age 60, a shingles vaccine is performed once, or 5 years after the last outbreak of shingles to prevent its recurrence.