Preventive screenings can help stave off more serious illness—and may save your life.

van-dunn-2Since I began my career as a primary care physician at a community hospital, I have counseled patients, friends, family members and anyone else who cared to listen on the value of preventive screenings. Now, as Chief Medical Officer at the Benefit Fund, my primary goal is to help keep you healthy, and preventive screenings are one of the best ways to make that goal a reality.

Cancer screenings are the most effective tool to catch almost every type of cancer before the disease has had a chance to spread to a life-threatening stage, yet far too often, folks “forget” to schedule an appointment or are put off by the inconvenience or discomfort that accompanies some preventive screening procedures. The reason for any cancer screening is to identify, treat or remove precancerous cells, period. And a little discomfort or a few hours of your time is a small price to pay. Likewise, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings are designed to identify warning signs long before they have a chance to become chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Preventive screenings are important, just like the immunizations that protect you from the measles, mumps, rubella, malaria and other illnesses, so they should be part of your annual routine to protect your health and see your primary care doctor. If it so happens that you are due for a screening, your doctor can even let you know. And when that happens, by all means, do not put it off: Early detection can mean the difference between treating a condition in its early stages and facing a more serious and potentially life-threatening illness.

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