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Never too early: Stay on top of preventive screenings

| Healthy You

Patient sits on exam table and talks to provider

Your provider can help you decide which screening tests are best for you.

Screenings are critically important to your health. They can save you time, money and stress.

How? Consider a 45-year-old woman whose grandfather died of colon cancer. This puts her at higher risk for it. Her provider recommended a colonoscopy earlier than for someone without a family history of the condition.

And because colon cancer runs in her family, her insurance paid the cost of the screening. 

During the procedure, the doctor discovered and removed two small polyps (clumps of tissue — often small — growing inside the body) before they could develop into cancer.

The results of the screening gave her peace of mind. It might even have saved her life. 

Missed preventive care

Since the pandemic, doctors and patients have seen why screenings and preventive care are so important.

“We’re seeing more advanced cases of heart disease, cancer and diabetes due to delays in preventive care in the past three years,” said Simon Lai, MD, PeaceHealth primary care medical director.

More advanced conditions can be more difficult to treat. That might mean more frequent appointments and time away from work. It could also mean treatments that cost more. And all of it can lead to higher anxiety.

If you have concerns, ask your provider what screenings are right for you, based on your personal health and family history. You can talk with your PCP or another provider you see regularly such as a heart, lung or hormone specialist.

Budget friendly

Many preventive care screenings are covered by the Affordable Care Act. A few examples include cholesterol, depression and diabetes.

However, be aware that if you are seen for more than one concern at a doctor’s visit, you may have an out-of-pocket charge for whatever is not related to the screening.

If you need help with co-pays or don’t have insurance, ask about PeaceHealth financial assistance. You can find more information on your last statement or in My PeaceHealth.

At-home screenings

Some types of screenings, such as for colorectal cancer or diabetes, can be done at home. Talk to your doctor if you’re interested in learning more about at-home options. 

No matter where or how a screening is done, it’s important to note that screenings do not PREVENT but rather FIND signs of a condition.

Tracking known conditions

Besides finding previously unknown conditions, screenings can help you monitor those you already know you have. If you have a chronic condition, screenings can help you know how well your current medications or activities are working. 

Your healthcare provider can use the results of a screening to talk about next steps. For example, if a test shows high cholesterol, your doctor can give you more information about diet or exercise to lower your level.

Insights to support your well-being

Getting screenings can give you knowledge and peace of mind.

With the results of a screening test and advice from a provider, you can better manage or understand your health needs. 

You can also use the information to get ahead of potential health issues and do what you can to maintain your well-being.

Talk with your care team about what screenings are right for you.

portrait of Simon T. Lai MD

Simon T. Lai MD

Family Medicine
Simon Lai, MD, has wanted to help people with their health since he was three years old. That inspired him to become a family medicine doctor so he could partner with people in meeting their personal health goals. Now, Dr. Lai helps entire communities through his role as medical director of PeaceHealth primary care services. His work focuses on improving care and making sure people get the care they need, when they need it. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Lai continues to care for newborns who are admitted to the hospital – a personal passion of his. Away from work, he likes to cook and spend time with his wife and four children.