Tests and Screenings You Shouldn’t Skip During the Pandemic
Routine tests (cholesterol and blood pressure) and
screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and Pap are effective means of
spotting conditions before they get worse.
The pandemic has raised concerns about routine preventive
care. Is it OK to skip these screenings while in the middle of a pandemic?
In short, no. It is very important to stick to your schedule for these tests - which help give health care providers early notice if your health is changing.
At Reid Health, our safe pathways to care include screening and testing for COVID-19, wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, changing processes to minimize contact and taking additional cleaning measures. Our providers are taking extra precautions to keep patients safe and help prevent the spread of the virus. We also test patients for COVID-19 in advance of procedures and surgeries.
Maintain your health during the pandemic
Talk to your provider about what screenings are best for you and follow their recommendations, especially if you're living with a condition
that puts you more at risk for certain diseases.
In general, here are some of the tests and checkups that you shouldn't delay since they are important to
your overall health:
Pediatric checkups and well child visits: Keeping your
children healthy and up-to-date on their vaccines is essential. Work with your
pediatrician or care center to make sure your kids don't miss these
important in-person visits.
Pap tests — with or without human papillomavirus (HPV) screening: These
tests can detect certain cancers of the cervix, as well as viral conditions
that put women at higher risk for cervical cancer. If your recent Pap tests
were normal, you should have a Pap test every three to five years. However, if
you have a history of abnormal Pap tests, you may need to have them more
Mammograms: A yearly
mammogram (or more or less frequent, as your provider recommends) is an
essential step in early detection of breast cancer.
DEXA osteoporosis screening (bone mineral density test): As women get older, thinning bones can
increase the risk of fractures. This test assesses your risk and helps your provider
determine if you need calcium supplements or other treatment for bone mineral
cancer screening: Men should follow their doctor's instructions on getting
tested for prostate cancer regularly.
For Women and Men
Women and men should get colonoscopies starting at age 45, according to
recently updated recommendations. Colonoscopies can spot colorectal
cancer, which when treated early, can be managed effectively.
Tests for heart and vascular health: Reid Health offers heart and vascular scans to help spot warnings in the earliest stages allowing quick action and treatments that can help prolong life. For heart health, adults should also keep track of their blood pressure and body mass index (BMI).
You should follow your provider's guidance on getting
regular blood tests for factors relevant to heart disease risk, such as:
- Blood sugar
- Coronary artery calcium
- C-reactive protein
- Other factors as your provider suggests
With so much attention focused on COVID-19, it's easy to
forget about other health issues such as cancer or heart disease, but these
threats are still around. The good news is that with screening, in many cases,
you can prevent them or catch problems early so that treatment is more
Preventive measures such as mammograms, Pap tests, colonoscopies and other tests and screenings are essential to good health.
If you are experiencing any symptoms or signs of illness, don't delay care.
Contact your health care provider to get the help you need.