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The good news is we each hold a lot of power when it comes to our health. We have the unique opportunity to prevent, stall or lessen the impact of some diseases. Staying healthy is still a matter of the lifestyle choices we make. Partner with your doctor and check with your insurance company to see what screening tests are appropriate for you and family members free of charge.
You’ll find tools and resources including a personal check-list here to help you keep track of tests, screenings and your numbers.
Yes, it is possible to prevent some cancers! Screening tests are the key.
TARGET — Colorectal Cancer
Why Target? Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States when men and women are considered separately, and the second leading cause when both sexes are combined. We have a unique opportunity with colorectal cancer—screening tests allow us to find precancerous lesions so they can be treated before they become cancerous.
Screening Tests Several tests can be used to find colorectal cancer. Regular screening tests beginning at age 50 and continuing until age 75 are recommended. The Colonoscopy Test (considered the gold standard)- a long flexible tube check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and colon. During the test, the doctor can remove polyps and some cancers.Talk to your doctor about earlier or more frequent testing if you have other risk factors including family history, inflammatory bowel disease or a generic syndrome.
TARGET — Breast Cancer
Why Target? Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it is easiest to treat and chances of survival are high.
Screening Tests There are three main tests are used to screen for breast cancer—mammogram, clinical breast exam and monthly self-breast exam. Mammograms are an x-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. It is recommended that women have a mammogram every year beginning at age 40. A clinical breast exam by a doctor or nurse using their hands to feel for lumps or other changes is recommended every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over. A monthly self-breast exam should be completed and a repot any changes to your doctor. Many breast cancers are first detected by self monitoring.
These screening tests allow us the unique opportunity to prevent cancer or discover it early when it is most treatable and beatable. Remember, like other preventative health services insurance coverage for screening tests for breast and colon cancer are required and covered by the Affordable Care Act.
There are screening tests that can show us signs of disease before symptoms present. Knowing your numbers (test/screening results) empowers you to become a true partner in your healthcare and can help motivate you to take ownership. The good news is all health insurance will cover preventive services like screening tests at no cost to you. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The concern comes down to inflammatory burden on the body caused by high blood pressure, high blood sugar and stress.
TARGET - High Blood Pressure
Why Target? Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure can damage many parts of the body. If you have high blood pressure, you have a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney failure. Controlling your blood pressure can reduce these risks.
Screening Test The only way to know whether your blood pressure is too high is to check it with a blood pressure monitor. Most people who have high blood pressure do not have any symptoms. This is why it's sometimes called “the silent killer.” Check yours regularly. The higher your blood pressure is, the more often you need to check it. A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you have what is called "prehypertension," which means that if you don’t take important steps, your elevated blood pressure can turn into high blood pressure.
Prevention/Treatment You and your doctor will work together to find the best way to lower your blood pressure. Treatment usually begins with monitoring your blood pressure and changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
TARGET - Type 2 Diabetes
Why Target? Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism that results in high blood sugar, high lipid levels and widespread disease. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious damage. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. There is strong correlation between cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Heart disease and stroke are the number 1 causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in adults. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, obesity and lack of physical activity.
Screening Test A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Fasting Plasma Glucose is the preferred test. Diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood glucose levels of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl. If your blood glucose level is between 100mg/dl and 125mg/dl, you have what is called "prediabetes," which means that if you don’t take important steps, you may develop diabetes.The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults age 45 years and older be considered for diabetes screening by their health care provider every 3 years. Screening should be considered at a younger age or be carried out more frequently in individuals who are overweight (BMI 25 +) or have risk factors including family history, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, history of gestational diabetes and race/ethnicity.
Prevention/Treatment You and your doctor should work together to find the best way to manage and monitor your diabetes. Healthy eating, physical activity and blood glucose testing are the basic therapies for type 2 diabetes. Diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and family history all play a role in your prevention. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, obesity, and lack of physical activity. Type 2 diabetes is more common in individuals with a family history of the disease and in members of certain racial/ethnic groups.
What are the most effective things you can do to take control of your health? The key to staying healthy and preventing disease is lifestyle. Small choices we each make everyday really do impact our health.
We’re all dealt a genetic hand of cards, a predisposition to certain diseases we cannot control. For most people, a healthy lifestyle trumps inherited risk--70-80% of disease is determined by lifestyle. Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Obesity, poor nutrition habits, smoking, lack of exercise or excessive drinking can send people down a path toward premature death despite good longevity genes.
You are the captain of the ship, your lifestyle choices are plotting the course. When it comes to health you are the most important person—you have the primary role, your doctor and the health care system play a critical, but secondary role. Focus on working with your primary care provider, get tested and/or screened regularly, ask questions, follow a check list, and know your numbers.
Western New York’s statistics for health and wellness tell a troubling story. Ours is a community in which many individuals and families struggle with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What makes this issue even more troubling is that even with the wealth of health information and services available – many do not ask the vital questions or get the critical preventative medical services.
Health researchers identify many screening and maintenance procedures that can be used to prevent future health challenges. These range from cholesterol screenings, routine lab work for annual physical exams to specific cancer screenings. There is also a tendency to overlook the role that lifestyle plays in our overall health. We are all dealt a genetic hand of cards, a predisposition to certain diseases we cannot control. For most people, health behaviors trump inherited risk—70-80% of disease is determined by lifestyle.
Target Prevention aims to raise awareness of this critical need. This WNED-TV initiative is funded in part by Independent Health.
Target Prevention focuses on:
P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, New York
140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, New York
477 Richmond Street West - Suite 602
Toronto, ON M5V 3E7
Please select the department that best deals with your issue by clicking the associated link below.
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