Early Detection During COVID-19
With COVID looking like it will remain a part of our lives for an indeterminant time, Comprehensive Cancer Centers reminds everyone that taking care of their personal health is not something that can be delayed. Taking care of personal health includes getting regular checkups and screenings, as well as going to specialists, such as the oncologists at Comprehensive, is more important now than ever.
Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day
A good way to get back into a regular rhythm of taking care of personal health comes with the arrival of Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day on September 21. Busy lives, hectic work schedules and other things like getting kids back in school can combine to make people feel like they don’t have enough time to make doctor visits. Seeing a doctor regularly; however, is an important aspect of health. It only takes a few minutes to set up your annual appointments, as well as reach out to a family member or friend and help them get an appointment set up.
Comprehensive Cancer asks everyone who celebrates Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day to also get at least one family member or friend to set up a visit to their doctor, as well.
Annual doctor visits make it possible to identify early signs of health issues like cancer, as well as, provide an opportunity to assess one’s risk of many diseases that could be elevated due to a person’s personal and family health history. Despite the benefits of early screenings and detections that come from visiting a doctor, Americans have one of the lowest average numbers of annual doctor visits compared to other developed countries.
These missed checkups, which include regular checkups, prescriptions, dental care, vision care, and hearing care, screening tests, and ongoing treatment are leading to increases in late detections of critical illnesses, such as cancer. Missed treatments, like chemo and radiation, are making illnesses like cancer take longer to treat and potentially increasing odds of bad outcomes. A recent report by the CDC documents some of these troubling trends.
How You Can Help Friends and Family Manage their Health
It is important to know how to properly prepare for or what to expect from an appointment for a regular check up. Once an appointment is scheduled, friends should encourage each other to create a list of questions for the doctor. Most appointments won’t require a list, but creating one anyway acts as a reminder to address any concerns regarding risk of disease, medication, and any other health queries.
Though it may take a bit more effort, documenting all family medical history can also be useful for a physician. Knowing if diseases like cancer, diabetes, or others are genetic can help a physician assess each person’s risk and create a health care plan, if necessary. A great resource for learning more about genetic risks comes from Cancer Genetic Counseling, a service offered by the team at Comprehensive.
While not everyone can get to the doctor at the same time on September 21, the day simply offers the opportunity to add something to your calendar that encourages you to have an open conversation about health with someone who matters to you. Often friends or family have conflicting schedules and are unable to go to the doctor together on such short notice, so you can help people make time by setting something up, even for a month or two from now.
The primary goal of National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is to help others – or yourself- begin to prioritize preventative health. This process comes from acknowledging early symptoms can increase the likelihood of successful treatment. Discovering a disease before symptoms appear is even more favorable; however, discovering diseases before symptoms appear is only possible through routine check-ups, screenings and active communications about health.
Ways to Increase Early Detection
When it comes to cancer, the team at Comprehensive finds certain commonalities people often ignore, which can result in a later than necessary cancer diagnoses. Missed signs can include:
Fatigue – During these challenging days, it’s easy to dismiss being worn out more than usual to stress. With school and work schedules, people find themselves off natural rhythms, and can dismiss the feeling as a result. It’s important to know that fatigue can be the cause of something more serious. If you’re tired for a prolonged period of time, do not ignore the feeling and discuss it with your doctor during your checkup. Additionally, fatigue can come from poor sleep. If you think this maybe the case, be sure to check in with Sleep Center at Comprehensive (LINK 6) to get a consultation.
Weight or Appetite Loss – Sudden or unexplained weight loss may be a sign of a health concern. Be sure to bring up unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite with your doctor. And in the spirit of Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, be sure to encourage others to ask about these issues, as well. It can be a difficult conversation to have, talking about other people’s weight, but often the changes might be noticed more by a family member or a friend than the person losing the weight or not eating as much.
People often also dismiss aches and pains, due to getting older or out of shape. And with coughs, people may ignore them as they hope they’re not signs of COVID, but they could be other issue with lungs. For you, or anyone else you are encouraging to take charge of personal health, be sure to document anything out of the ordinary and have it checked out.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada provide a variety of options for the treatment of cancer, blood diseases, breast health conditions, sleep disorders and lung issues. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.