Yesterday, we talked about why health care organizations sometimes change their recommendations on when to have life saving screenings such as mammograms.
A similar conversation has been happening in the national medical community about screening for prostate cancer using the PSA test. As this test has been used over a period of time, we are better able to analyze the benefits of it for different groups of men, and make more specific recommendations for how to use it and in which groups. At Summa Health System, we believe that men between 40 and 50 should consult with their physician about when to start having a recurring PSA blood test to screen for this cancer. After age 65, we believe that men should have an annual PSA blood test, with some determinations still made by a patient’s doctor.
Again, you may have heard other organizations advocate for different screening ages and routines. For more on that, check out yesterday’s post.
So where do you go for information on what screening tests you and your family should be considering and how to figure it out? First and foremost, talk with your health care provider. Don’t be afraid to bring up what you’ve heard or read about a test or procedure; use what you’ve learned and make sure all of your questions are answered! Your individual health status and family risk factors are important considerations to the recipe that only you and your provider can include.
There are also some websites that you may find helpful.
- Health Finder is a great resource for the latest information on preventive health care services as well as some tools to help you and your family stay on top of your health.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information and many downloadable forms to keep track of the services you should receive. They also have a section on childhood vaccine information for parents.
- And of course, Summa Health System offers a full health library where you can access an encyclopedia of health information reviewed by medical professionals.
No matter which “recipe” you and your health care team develop for your health screenings, always remember that you are the chef, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and be an active participant in your own care.
Nancy A. Myers, Ph.D.
System Director, Quality and Clinical Effectiveness
Summa Health System