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Wellness and Prevention

Exams and cancer screenings can help keep you healthy

The best way to stay healthy is to catch health problems, like cancer, before they become serious. With proper care and regular screenings, you can live longer and healthier.

For women we recommend:

  • Breast self-exams every month beginning at age 18
  • Pelvic exams and Pap tests beginning at age 18
  • HPV vaccine for girls and women ages 9-26
  • Upper GI endoscopy if you suffer from chronic heartburn
  • Tetanus booster every 10 years
  • Cholesterol testing beginning in your twenties
  • Annual mammograms beginning at age 40
  • Blood test for glucose and hypothyroidism every three years beginning at age 40
  • Colonoscopies beginning at age 50
  • Baseline DEXA for bone density at age 50 to check for osteoporosis
  • Flu shots every year and pneumonia vaccine every five years beginning at age 50
  • CT heart scan or calcium scoring assessment after age 55
  • Hearing after age 65
  • Eye exams—checking for glaucoma every year beginning at age 65
  • Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine for older women

PEARLS Program for Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer

If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may be concerned. That's why we initiated PEARLS—Prevention and Empowerment through Assessment of Risks and Lifetime Surveillance. NCH specialists will analyze your heredity background and personal lifestyle to calculate your personal breast cancer risk and put together the best pro-health plan for you. If you feel you might benefit from this program, schedule a consultation with a Breast Nurse Navigator at 847.618.5880.

For men we recommend:

  • Testicular cancer self-exams
  • Cholesterol testing beginning in your twenties
  • Tetanus booster every 10 years
  • Upper GI endoscopy if you suffer from chronic heartburn
  • Blood test for glucose beginning at age 40
  • CT heart scan or calcium scoring assessment after age 45
  • Prostate screening beginning at age 50
  • Colonoscopies beginning at age 50
  • Flu shots every year and pneumonia vaccine every five years beginning at age 50
  • Hearing test after age 65
  • Blood pressure every two years and more as you get older
  • Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine for older men
  • More cancer prevention tips for men

For a more in-depth list or exams and screenings, click here for your copy of NCH's Take Care of Yourself brochure.

Cancer Risk and Smoking

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States. Smoking is responsible for approximately 87% of lung cancer deaths and is known to cause cancer of the larynx, mouth, pharynx, esophagus and bladder. It's also linked to the development of leukemia, and cancers in the pancreas, cervix, kidney and stomach. Click here for more facts about the dangers of smoking and information about Courage to Quit® at NCH, a comprehensive tobacco treatment program for adults.

Low-dose CT screenings for high-risk smokers

NCH was among the first hospitals in the Chicago area to launch a program to provide low-dose CT lung screenings to high-risk smokers. The NCH program comes in response to a breakthrough national study that found that low-dose CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduced their risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent due to earlier detection of the disease. Similar to the national study, NCH patients 50 to 74 who have smoked at least one pack a day for 30 years or two packs a day for 15 years are eligible, as well as ex-smokers who have quit within the last 15 years. This is not a clinical trial and insurance does not currently cover this screening. For more information on these lung screenings, call Juli Aistars at 847.618.6572. To schedule a lung screening, call 847.618.3700.

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Last Updated 06/12/2009