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50+? Stay healthy with these preventive care screenings

Complete these preventive care screenings at age 50. They’re free and keep you healthy so you can be there for the people you love.


By Virginia Kakacek, MD
August 12, 2017

     


The saying “50 is the new 30” is definitely true when it comes to my patients. Preventive care screenings play a big part in that. More and more I see patients in their 40’s and 50’s who are healthy as ever – running marathons, changing careers and traveling around the globe. It’s refreshing to see so many people dedicated to living long, healthy lives. 

Turning 50 is a big milestone when it comes to your health. I make sure to spend extra time with my female patients who are nearing 50, to let them know about preventive care screenings that can help keep them healthy, active and around for their loved ones.

Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about screening options

Here are 3 preventive care screenings I recommend at age 50:

1) Mammogram

What is it?
  • X-ray images to detect tumors in the breast.
  • Checks for breast cancer in women who don’t show signs or symptoms of the disease.
Why do I need one?
  • Your risk for breast cancer increases once you hit age 50.
  • Mammograms can help detect cancer at an early stage, where it can be more treatable.
  • Your family and friends are depending on you to be around for those big life moments, and screenings are one way to help make sure that happens.
How much does it cost?
  • Most health insurance plans will cover your mammogram 100%, so there’s no cost to you.
  • Always check with your health insurance company first to make sure your mammogram is covered.
HealthPartners members: Check your coverage here!
How often should I be screened?
  • We recommend starting screening no later than age 50 and getting a mammogram every 1-2 years after age 50.

2) Colorectal cancer screening

What is it?
  • Tests for colorectal cancer, the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States.
Dr. Brooks from the American Cancer Society explains the importance of colorectal screening and what your options are. Read his post here.
Why do I need one?
  • Often called the “silent killer”, colon cancer often doesn’t show signs or symptoms.
  • Regular screening can help catch a problem early, where it’s more easily treated.
Don’t let the fear of a colonoscopy scare you. There are other options, even ones that you can do at home
How much does it cost?
  • Just like mammograms, your health insurance will likely cover your colorectal screening 100%.
HealthPartners members: Check your coverage here!
How often should I be screened?
  • It depends what type of screening you’re getting. Talk with your doctor about your screening options and how often you need to be screened.

3) Cervical cancer screening

What is it?
  • Generally known as the Pap test and typically done during an office visit with your doctor.
Why do I need one?
  • This screening can catch problems early, when they’re easier to treat.
  • We see cervical cancer most often in woman 40 years and older.
How much does it cost?
  • Your screening is likely covered 100% by your insurance, meaning there’s no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to see if this screening is covered.
HealthPartners members: Check your coverage here!
How often should I be screened?
  • Guidelines for the Pap test have changed over the years and depend on your health history, so ask your doctor how often you should have one.

Your doctor’s office can help you schedule these tests. It’s important to take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself. You’ll give yourself, and those you love, peace of mind knowing you’re going into your 50’s in great health.

Virginia Kakacek, MD

Dr. Kakacek is an Associate Medical Director with the HealthPartners Medical Group and a Family Practice physician in the Park Nicollet Clinic systems and Methodist Hospital. She’s also an instructor in the University of Minnesota residency program at Methodist. Dr. Kakacek enjoys getting to work with talented and passionate people across HealthPartners health insurance plan and its hospitals and clinics. When not at work Dr. Kakacek enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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