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Health Screening

Screening Story of a 9Health Fair Participant

"My husband and I attended the 9Health Fair in April of 2004 at the Susan M. Duncan YMCA in Arvada. We had gone through most of the stations and were on our way out when we saw the line for skin screenings. It was shorter than usual so we decided to stop and get checked. Thank GOD we did. I was checked by the doctor who noticed a dark freckle on my left arm and a spot on my face; she recommended that both areas be checked by my doctor. I had the freckle on my arm removed and sent off to the lab. It was melanoma! It was .3mm deep so it was caught early. I will have to manage this for the rest of my life but now that I am educated, it will help me through any future incidents. While my doctor had a watch on this freckle, it was the 9Health Fair that recommended further inspection and treatment and may have saved my life. I will always be thankful to the 9Health Fair.”

Cindy G., 9Health Fair participant since 2004

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What screening tests do people need?

The screening tests people need depend on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family history of disease
  • Personal history of disease
  • Risk factors (smoking, overweight or obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure)

Some screening tests like blood pressure and blood cholesterol are common screening tests for most adults. Healthcare providers may recommend others based on the factors listed above. For example, older adults may need a bone density test to assess their risk for breaking bones. According to the American Cancer Society, women should have a mammogram every 1-2 years starting at age 40, but younger if they have family history of breast cancer.

The screening tests a person needs also depends on their risk factors for disease. For example, if a person smokes, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, a healthcare provider may recommend an electrocardiogram (EKG) to screen for heart disease.

The table below describes several screening tests. Some of the tests listed are common (blood pressure, cholesterol and weight/BMI). A healthcare provider may suggest others. Note: The tests listed in the table are based on national guidelines from different organizations. Click the links to get the most current guidelines.

Note: Tests needed can vary for different people. Always check with your doctor to see what tests you need.

Screening Procedure

What does it check for?

How often should you be checked? *

Blood pressure

Checks the pressure on blood vessels

Every year; more often for people with risk factors
See current guidelines for MEN (USPSTF)
| Guidelines for WOMEN (USPSTF)

Cholesterol

Blood test to check levels of a fat-like substance in the blood

Every 5 years
See current guidelines for MEN (USPSTF) | Guidelines for WOMEN (USPSTF)

Weight and BMI (Body Mass Index)

BMI is a height and weight calculation to determine overweight or obesity

Every year

Mammogram

X-rays of the breast to detect breast cancer

Every 1-2 years for women over 40
See current guidelines (American Cancer Society)

Colonoscopy

A scope procedure to check for abnormal growths in the colon or rectum; checks for cancer or abnormal cells

Every 10 years over age 50
See current guidelines (American Cancer Society)

PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test

Blood tests to measure PSA levels; checks for prostate cancer

Every year for men over 50, but it depends on risk factors
See current guidelines (American Cancer Society)

Pap Smear

Abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix; checks for cervical cancer or abnormal cells

Every 2-3 years for women, depending on age
See current guidelines (American Cancer Society)

Bone Density

X-rays of a section of bone; checks for osteoporosis or fragile bones

Women over 65, men over 70
See current guidelines for MEN (USPSTF) | Guidelines for WOMEN (USPSTF)

* How often you should be checked may also depend on your risk factors for disease.

See descriptions of the screening tests listed in the table above

Who sets the standards for screening tests?

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