Health Team

'Medical musts' remain during a recession

Physicians say there are some medical exams and procedures that are necessary, even during cash-strapped times during a recession.

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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.

"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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