Health Team

'Medical musts' remain during a recession

Posted June 4, 2009

Americans looking to save money during the recession often put off some medical needs, according to doctors. However, skipping certain exams or procedures could cost more in the long run.

Cash-strapped still need preventative medicine Cash-strapped still need preventative medicine

"We've got a number of areas where people used to get treated right away, and we're not seeing that anymore," said Dr. Raymond Washington, First Health general surgeon.

He said the first things people cut out are elective procedures, such as colonoscopies recommended from age 50, or younger if you have a family history of cancer. But long term, missing out on the early detection of cancer that a colonoscopy can provide costs more, Washington said.

"The whole point of prevention is to try and make sure you don't develop a problem," said Dr. Jennifer Szurgot, who works in internal medicine at First Health.

Szurgot recommended several screenings as "medical musts" to save lives and cost.

"As a female, you should be getting pap and pelvic exams through your gynecologist about once a year and mammograms beginning at age 40 annually," she said.

By age 50, women should have bone-density screenings about every two years.

By age 40, men should start prostate exams. By age 50, men should add a PSA blood test.

"At least see your doctor annually because you will not always have symptoms related to some of these medical conditions," Szurgot said.


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  • CestLaVie Jun 5, 2009

    Yeh, homeward. This blog is spoken like a true member of the medical industry, trying to keep the cogs oiled with money.

    In my opinion, everything that is in the news as to being NECESSARY in budgets (ours, companies, governments), where NO ONE wants their part cut, we ALL may need to go back to ground zero and basic necessities only.....if not now, then soon. Glance back to the depression, when probably NONE of these benefits were even thought of, let alone implemented, and you can see just how much has expanded & bloated budgets since then. Some of us are just being more realistic than usual.

  • Homeward Jun 5, 2009

    Wow, talk about easier said than done! With no health insurance we were lucky to get flu shots and keep prescriptions refilled with a discount card. That doctor must be absolutely clueless as to how terribly expensive those exams and tests are! ESPECIALLY when you don't have an insurance company to force the provider to settle for less.