What is a preventive health screening?
A preventive health screening is a test, physical examination or other procedure used to detect a particular disease or condition you may have or are at risk of developing before you begin showing any symptoms.
Why are preventive health screenings important?
Preventive health screenings are important because early detection, followed by treatment and management of the condition can result in better outcomes, and lower the risk of serious complications. As men and women age, there are health screening services that become more important to have. Age is a risk factor for many life changing diseases, and the power of prevention is your body’s best defense.
Are preventive health screenings covered by my insurance?
Most likely. Many health plans are required to cover a set of preventive services – like shots and screening tests – at no cost to you. These services are usually free when delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network. Check with your insurance provider to make sure you have this important benefit.
- Cardiovascular Screenings
- Breast Cancer Screening
- Cervical Cancer Screening
- Colorectal Cancer Screening
- Lung Cancer Screening
- Prostate Cancer Screening
Pleasant Valley Hospital’s cardiovascular screenings assess your risk for a stroke or heart attack. These screenings can help you have peace of mind knowing that you are taking steps towards a healthier you!
Stroke Risk Assessment – $99 $65 during Heart Health Month (February)!
• Aortic ultrasound for abdominal aortic aneurysm
• EKG for Atrial fibrillation (heart rhythm)
• Carotid ultrasound for artery disease
• ABI (ankle-brachial index) for peripheral artery disease
Valued at $1,500
Heart Attack Risk Assessment – $75 $65 during Heart Health Month (February)!
Valued at $189
Premium Heart Attack Risk Assessment – $199 $99 during Heart Health Month (February)!
A CTA (Computed Tomography Angiography) is a special CAT scan that detects blockages in the coronary arteries. The scan takes less than 60 seconds. A calcium score is also included in this package.
Valued at $1,500
For more information or to schedule your screening, please call 304.675.6257.
Breast cancer screening is checking a woman’s breast for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early while it is easier to treat. The most common breast cancer screening method is the mammogram.
Mammograms use a low-dose of radiation to take x-ray images of the breast to detect cancer, often even in the early stages before women experience symptoms. The earlier breast cancer is detected the better, because this is when it is most treatable. Early detection may prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers or may decrease the need for a mastectomy. In fact, when breast cancer is detected early and is confined to the breast only, 5-year survival is approximately 99%. This declines to only 26% if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body at the time of diagnosis.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths for women in the United States. Breast cancer death rates declined 36% from 1989 to 2012, largely as a result of screening mammography (American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016).
The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is approximately 12.5% (1 out of 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in her lifetime). The risk of death from breast cancer can be lessened if breast cancer is detected early with a mammogram.
American Cancer Society screening recommendations for women at average breast cancer risk:
For screening purposes, a woman is considered to be at average risk if she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as in a BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30. (See below for guidelines for women at high risk.)
- Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
- Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
American Cancer Society screening recommendations for women at high breast cancer risk:
Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30. This includes women who:
- Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (see below)
- Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing)
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
- Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
- Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes
Most women at high risk should begin screening with MRI and mammograms when they are 30 and continue for as long as they are in good health. But a woman at high risk should make the decision to start with her health care providers, taking into account her personal circumstances and preferences.
Most health insurance plans are required to cover mammograms every one to two years for women beginning at age 40 with no out-of-pocket cost (like a co-pay, deductible, or co-insurance).
For more information or to schedule your screening, please call Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Health Center at 304.675.4301.
Cervical cancer is not hereditary and does not discriminate. In fact, up to 4 out of 5 women will be affected with the virus that causes cervical cancer (HPV) at least once in their lifetime. But you can help protect yourself. When caught in the early stages, you have an 80% chance of beating the cancer. This is why it’s so important to keep up with your annual exams. A well-proven way to prevent cervical cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and the HPV (human papillomavirus) test are used for this. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated, stopping cervical cancer before it starts. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests. The Pap test is a procedure used to collect cells from the cervix so that they can be looked at under a microscope to find cancer and pre-cancer. A Pap test can be done during a pelvic exam, but not all pelvic exams include a Pap test. An HPV test can be done on the same sample of cells collected from the Pap test.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early. Following these guidelines can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from forming.
- All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) at age 21. Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group (it may be used as a part of follow-up for an ab-normal Pap test).
- Beginning at age 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This is called co-testing and should continue until age 65.
- Women who are at high risk of cervical cancer because of a suppressed immune system (for example from HIV infection, organ transplant, or long-term steroid use) or because they were exposed to DES in utero may need to be screened more often. They should follow the recommendations of their health care team.
- Women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow these guidelines.
Coverage of cervical cancer screening tests is mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but that doesn’t apply to health plans that were in place before it was passed. You can find out the date your insurance plan started by contacting your health insurance plan administrator. If your plan started on or after September 23, 2010, it’s required to cover the recommended cervical cancer screening tests. If your plan started before September 23, 2010, it may still have coverage requirements mandated by your state, but each state is different.
For more information or to schedule your screening, please call 304.857.6503.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer, but it doesn’t have to be. There is strong scientific evidence that screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 saves lives! Both men and women can get colorectal cancer, and the risk increases with age. If you are 50 or older, getting a colorectal screening test could save your life. Here’s how. The gold standard for colorectal cancer screening is a screening colonoscopy. A screening colonoscopy is a simple outpatient test done under sedation that utilizes digital imaging equipment. Most colon cancers start as polyps, which can be removed during this procedure. It’s important to note that removal of these polyps may prevent colon cancer. Keep in mind: most colon polyps and early cancers usually have no symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to have a colonoscopy to prevent further problems.
- People who are age 50 or older. For people at average risk for colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screening at age 50.
- Individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancer or of colon polyps. Individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancer should begin screenings earlier than 50. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
It’s important to note that the United States Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends that people at average risk starting screening at age 50, whereas the American Cancer Society now recommends starting at age 45. There’s nothing to stop insurers from covering the tests starting at age 45, and some are likely to do so, but at this time insurers are not required to (and some might not) cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening before age 50.
The Affordable Care Act requires health plans that started on or after September 23, 2010 to cover colorectal cancer screening tests which includes a range of test options. In most cases there should be no out-of-pocket costs for these tests, such as co-pays or deductibles.
For more information or to schedule your screening colonoscopy, please call 304.675.1666.
Lung cancer screening is a process that’s used to detect the presence of lung cancer in otherwise healthy people with a high risk of lung cancer. Lung cancer screening is recommended for older adults who are longtime even if they have no signs or symptoms of lung cancer. Doctors use a low-dose computerized tomography (CT) scan of the lungs to look for lung cancer. If lung cancer is detected at an early stage, it’s more likely to be cured with treatment. The goal of lung cancer screening is to detect lung cancer at a very early stage — when it’s more likely to be cured. By the time lung cancer signs and symptoms develop, the cancer is usually too advanced for curative treatment. Studies show lung cancer screening reduces the risk of dying of lung cancer.
Lung cancer screening is usually reserved for people with the greatest risk of lung cancer, including:
- Older adults who are current or former smokers. Lung cancer screening is generally offered to smokers and former smokers age 55 and older.
- People who have smoked heavily for many years. You may consider lung cancer screening if you have a history of smoking for 30 pack years or longer. Pack years are calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked a day and the number of years that you smoked. (For example, a person with 30 pack years of smoking history may have smoked a pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years or three-quarters of a pack a day for 40 years. Even if your smoking habits changed over the years, your recollection about your smoking history can be used to determine whether lung cancer screening may be beneficial for you.)
- People who once smoked heavily but quit. If you were a heavy smoker for a long time and you quit smoking, you may consider lung cancer screening.
- People with a history of lung cancer. If you were treated for lung cancer more than five years ago, you may consider lung cancer screening.
- People with other risk factors for lung cancer. People who have other risk factors for lung cancer may include those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), those with a family history of lung cancer and those who are exposed to asbestos at work.
For more information or to schedule your lung cancer screening, please call 304.674.2409.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. The most important thing you can do, as a man over 40, is talk to your doctor to determine whether a PSA screening is right for you. The good news is, when detected early, the vast majority of prostate cancer cases respond favorably to treatment. The PSA prostate cancer screening is a blood test used to measure the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man’s bladder. The PSA test can detect high levels of PSA that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their health care provider about prostate cancer screening. Men should discuss screening with their provider beginning at:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
For more information or to schedule your screening, please call 304.675.4340.