Posts Tagged ‘cancer screening’

Screening 101: What Health Screening Tests Do You Need and Why?

Primary Care PhysicianHealth screening tests can seem like a nuisance: You need to schedule an appointment, take time out of your day and wait to see a provider. But, they are so much more. Health screenings are a way for you to take control of your own health. An annual exam with a primary care provider gives you the opportunity to talk about your concerns, your family history and past or current medical conditions.

These annual tests and exams can equip you with the information and education you need to make healthy choices that last a lifetime, allowing you to enjoy life to its fullest. There are many screenings available. Your primary care provider will discuss which are best for you based on your family and medical history. Those screening tests may include:

  • Annual physical
  • Annual eye exam
  • Cancer screenings
  • Sexually transmitted infection screenings

Annual Physical Examination

The best place to start with annual screenings is with your annual physical exam. This appointment gives you the opportunity to talk with your primary care provider – sharing any concerns and getting answers to any questions you may have. It also allows your provider to check in on any other conditions you may have – from high blood pressure, depression, anxiety or diabetes. During your annual exam, you may also receive:

  • Blood tests to check blood sugar and cholesterol levels
  • Immunizations, such as the flu shot
  • Pelvic exam (women)
  • Weight, blood pressure and temperature check
  • Screening questions about depression, smoking, and alcohol use

Your provider will also recommend any additional screenings based on your family and medical history. Sharing an updated history with your physician is important as family history often indicates an increased risk for developing certain conditions, such as cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Annual Eye Exam

If you have diabetes, you should schedule an annual eye exam. Make going to the eye doctor a priority. Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk for eye diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataract and glaucoma. Your eye doctor will conduct special tests to check the health of your eyes to keep you seeing well for as long as possible.

Cancer Screenings

Cancer screenings can vary across individuals, depending on their age, risk factors and family and medical history. Research has shown that some screening tests can reduce cancer deaths. According to the National Cancer Institute, those include:

• Colonoscopy – Screenings for colon cancer, including colonoscopy and other indirect colon cancer tests, can diagnose early stage colon cancer and precancerous cells, which can be removed to prevent cancer from developing.

• Low-dose CT scanIndividuals at risk for developing lung cancer should have a low-dose CT scan, which can detect and diagnose lung cancer. Early detection – before symptoms appear – can reduce lung cancer deaths.

• Mammogram – The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening guidelines for mammogram to detect early stage breast cancer in asymptomatic average-risk women:

  • Women ages 40-44 should have the choice to start annual mammograms after discussion with their provider.
  • Women ages 45-54 should have an annual mammogram.
  • Women ages 55 and older should have mammograms every two years.

• Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing – Cervical cancer death rates have dropped dramatically since regular Pap test screening was introduced. Today, most health professionals recommend that Pap testing begin at age 21 and occur every 5 years if done with HPV testing.

Your provider may also discuss screenings for skin cancer and prostate cancer, depending on your age and risk factors.

Sexually Transmitted Infections Screening

If you’re sexually active, talk to your doctor about getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An open and honest conversation can help you and your doctor identify your risk and get you the information and tests you need to stay healthy.

Some individuals with an STI, such as HPV or chlamydia, may show no symptoms but can still infect others. Left untreated, these infections can have serious complications on your physical, emotional and reproductive health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends STI screenings for the following individuals:

• Annual chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings for all sexually active women under age 25 and older women with risk factors

• Chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings for pregnant women at risk for infection

• HIV screenings at least once for everyone ages 13-64

  • HIV testing should be done more frequently for those at risk, including those who have more than one partner or use IV drugs.

• Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for all sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

• Syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B screenings for all pregnant women

Emory Healthcare is committed to providing confidential and accessible STI testing at sites across metropolitan Atlanta. We partner with organizations around the community to deliver family planning, sexual education and sexually transmitted infection screenings and resources.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need, when you need it. With more than 2,800 doctors and 300 locations, including 11 hospitals, primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to schedule your annual screenings and exams.


About Dr. Vohra-Khullar

Pamela Vohra-Khullar, MD, joined Emory in 2013 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine. She is also distinguished as a Senior Physician in clinical medicine. She splits her time between primary care clinic at The Emory Clinic and resident education at Grady Memorial Hospital. She completed medical school at the University of Chicago in 2005 and residency at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2008. She serves as the site director for the Primary Care Resident Clinic at The Emory Clinic. Her educational interests include ambulatory teaching and patient-doctor communication. Her clinical interests include preventive medicine, women’s health, and comprehensive chronic disease management.


Top 5 Things that Make the Emory Healthcare 500 Better than Your Typical Race

The tailgate parties, race excitement, food, friends and fun are typically enough of a reason to go see a NASCAR race sometime in your life. This is especially true when you get to participate in the excitement over a holiday weekend at a night race event. But more than just the fun of the experience, at the Emory Healthcare 500, taking place Labor Day weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, participants will be able to take a lot more away with them than just a great experience. Below we’ve outlined the top 5 things Emory Healthcare will add to make the typical race experience that much better at the Emory Healthcare 500:

1. Free Blood Pressure Screenings:

Approximately 30% of the United States population has high blood pressure. Although common, it doesn’t make the ramifications of high blood pressure any less shocking. Heart and kidney failure, heart attack and stroke are just a few of the problems high blood pressure can lead to. For those of you attending the Emory Healthcare 500, Emory Healthcare nurses will be on-site to provide free blood pressure screenings and advice and tips on how to improve it.

2. Smoking Cessation Help & Information:
Within just twenty minutes of your last cigarette your blood pressure begins to drop. Within 12 hours of your last cigarette your body’s carbon monoxide levels return to normal. After 24 hours, your chance of heart attack is reduced. Two weeks to three months after quitting, your lung function will improve by about 30% and after a full year, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker. All of these are reasons to quit for your own health. If that’s not enough, quitting to spend more time with your family and friends makes it a worthwhile cause. Our nurses will provide you with helpful information to help guide you on the path today.

3. Free Head/Neck Cancer Screenings:
Have you ever been to a large sporting event where you could receive expert screenings for cancer? At the Emory Healthcare 500 you can! Specialists from the Atlanta Head & Neck Cancer Coalition will be at the race to provide attendees with free head and neck cancer screenings.

4. BMI Screenings:
It’s no secret that obesity is on the rise. It’s also a well known fact that obesity leads to all kinds of serious health problems ranging from diabetes to heart failure. Emory Healthcare nurses will be at the Emory Healthcare 500 to provide free Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings and provide you with information about proper nutrition and healthy habits to improve your BMI if needed.

5. General Wellness and Health Information:
Our Emory Healthcare team is made up of experts in hundreds of health care fields. At the Emory Healthcare 500 you will get a free opportunity to speak with them and get your health questions answered. Have a question about whether you need a particular immunization or how you can help fight cancer? Our nurses, physicians and volunteers are the ones to ask.

We hope that aside from the fun and festivities of any NASCAR race, these five additions to the Emory Healthcare 500 lineup will make it that much more worthy of your attendance. We look forward to seeing our patient, physician and Georgia community on Labor Day weekend!