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Mon, Feb. 17

Over 50? Step up medical screenings

Getting regular health screenings is always wise, and the following screenings are especially important as you reach your golden years.

Annual Mammogram

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women ages 40 and older get a yearly mammogram screening for breast cancer. Women at high risk for breast cancer should ask their doctors about adding magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to their mammogram routine.

Prostate Cancer Screening

The two main prostate cancer screenings are the digital (finger) rectal exam (DRE) and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Talk to your doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for you if you are a man age 50 or older (age 40 or older if you have certain risk factors such as a father or brother with prostate cancer).

Colorectal Cancer Screening

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends colorectal cancer screening starting at age 50. You might need to be screened earlier and more often if you have a personal or family history of colorectal polyps (growths) or colorectal cancer. Common screening tests include fecal occult blood test for hidden blood in the stool and colonoscopy.

Blood Glucose Test

The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for type 2 diabetes beginning at age 45, especially if you're overweight or obese.

Glaucoma Detection

Regular checkups can help with early detection of glaucoma - the second-leading cause of blindness. The Mayo Clinic recommends eye exams every two years between the ages of 18 and 60 and every year past age 60.

Bone Mineral Density Test

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that women get a bone density test beginning at age 65 to screen for osteoporosis - or by age 60 if you have a thin build.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

If you are a man between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that you get screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm - an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.

Cholesterol Levels Test

Get your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 45 or earlier if you smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure, or have a family history of heart disease.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which health screenings are right for you.

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