A man and woman laugh while preparing a salad.

You help your loved one make healthy choices all year long. Right now is a great time to make sure he or she is up to date on preventive screenings. These screenings can help with early detection of health problems and make treatment more effective.

Below are some screenings for conditions that doctors can more effectively treat when detected early.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a severe lightening and weakening of the bones that can cause breaks, fractures and other painful problems. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it’s more likely to occur among women over 65, according to the Mayo Clinic.1

A bone mineral density (BMD) test uses a special machine to measure bone density. The test can often detect signs of osteoporosis early, so steps can be taken to help strengthen bones. Most of these tests are quick, noninvasive and can often be performed outside the hospital.

If your loved one has risk factors for osteoporosis, is 65 years or older or has had a recent fracture, help your loved one talk to his or her doctor about a BMD test.2

Help build strong bones at any age

Bone weakening is a natural part of aging, but there are healthy behaviors your loved one can adopt to prevent osteoporosis or keep it from getting worse.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a well-balanced diet high in calcium and vitamin D
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake

Screenings are key to early breast cancer detection

The good news is that deaths related to breast cancer have been going down, according to the American Cancer Society.3 Most doctors believe this is a result of better treatment options due to early detection.4

Encourage those you care for to examine their breasts and report any changes to their doctor. Their doctor can demonstrate the proper method for a breast self-exam and what symptoms to watch for (lumps, swelling, pain, changes in shape or size or in the nipple).

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year for women between the ages of 50 and 74, but a healthcare provider may recommend them earlier if there are other risk factors. Some women may choose to begin preventive screenings after age 40.5

A new outlook on prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men, second to skin cancer.6 But there’s good news: new types of treatment are becoming faster, less painful and have a lower risk of damage or scarring to nerves and other organs.7

Signs and symptoms

Signs of prostate cancer can be different among men, and some patients don’t have any symptoms at all. Common ones include:

  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Pain in the back or hips that doesn’t go away

Some of these symptoms can be due to separate, noncancer issues. If, however, your loved one is experiencing some of them, your loved one should talk to his or her doctor about a prostate cancer screening.

Sources:

  1. “Osteoporosis,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968. , opens new window
  2. “Bone Density Exam/Testing,” National Osteoporosis Foundation, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.nof.org/patients/diagnosis-information/bone-density-examtesting/. , opens new window
  3. “Cancer Facts & Figures 2017,” American Cancer Society, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2018.html , opens new window
  4. “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2017–2018,” American Cancer Society, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2017-2018.pdf , opens new window
  5. “Breast Cancer: Screening,” U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/breast-cancer-screening1. , opens new window
  6. “Prostate Cancer,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/. , opens new window
  7. “Surgery for Prostate Cancer,” American Cancer Society, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/treating/surgery.html. , opens new window