April 10, 2017
You may be wondering about the health screenings that are recommended for someone of your age and gender. Who comes up with the recommendations? How do they know what is needed, what is necessary? This month, we’ll discuss the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) Guidelines created to answer these questions and more.
According to the USPSTF website, the panel of independent, volunteer health care providers are experts in prevention and evidence based medicine. This panel, or task force, works to improve the health of all Americans by making their recommendations based on best practice and experience in their fields. These experts represent many types of health care practices, including fields such as family practice, internal medicine, gynecology, and behavioral health.
There have been many changes to the recommendations during the last 20 years. One such recommendation is the self breast exam. For years, women have been instructed on how to perform this exam on themselves. Through the years, evidence has shown that teaching this procedure has not reduced the number of deaths attributed to breast cancer, therefore, the recommendation has been removed as a preventative measure.
Another significant change is the frequency of mammography. For many years, mammograms have been recommended by most healthcare providers as a yearly test. It is now recommended every other year after the age of 50.
Lastly, prostate testing for males has changed as well. We no longer recommend routine screening for prostate cancer – or PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing – unless there are symptoms. Experts have found that the test is not specific for cancer and many false positives were found that caused needless worry and subsequent unnecessary procedures.
No need to be confused or try to keep track of all the changes! At your Aspire Indiana Health Center, our practitioners strive to stay up-to-date and current on the latest health and wellness prevention guidelines. Make your appointment today to talk about updated testing needed for your health and wellness journey.
To Good Health!
Syd Ehmke, FNP
Chief Operating Officer, Aspire Indiana Health