3 Reasons You Need Your Preventative Checkups

3 Reasons You Need Your Preventative Checkups

Health and Fitness March 30, 2016

Liver surgeon

Did you know that over 20,000 people in the U.S. die from cirrhosis and chronic liver disease each year? In some ways, it?s fair to say the U.S. is facing a bit of a health crisis. Years of poor health care coverage have had long lasting effects on the way Americans view the importance of health visits. A formerly large, uninsured population got into the habit of only going to the doctor for emergencies, rather than viewing it as an important part of overall health.

If you haven?t been to the doctor in a while, now is the time to get checked in and screened for common problems. Getting in for a checkup can be the difference between stopping a problem in its tracks, and allowing it to develop until it is too late for anything to be done. Here are a few things you should keep in mind about the importance of preventative checkups.

1. Pancreatic Cancer

Why are the survival rates for pancreatic cancer so low? Few patients have tumors that are only in their pancreas. By the time their cancer is diagnosed, the cancer has already spread, and surgery is often no longer a feasible solution. When pancreatic cancer is detected early on and patients can opt for pancreas surgery, the five year survival rate is 26% — once the cancer has spread to surrounding organs the survival rate drops to 10%.

2. Liver Cancer

The liver is an incredibly important organ because it filters the blood for the body. In many cases, liver is a secondary cancer, occurring first somewhere else in the body but then spreading to the liver because of its filtering method. Alcohol remains a primary cause of liver cancer. Today, there are over 16,000 people on the waiting list for a liver transplant, so if you skip your appointments and figure you can just get a new organ thanks to liver surgery, you may want to reconsider. On the plus side, if treated early enough, many liver surgeons are now experimenting more for liver resection, with better survival rates for liver cancer patients being reported in recent years thanks to this procedures.

3. Colon Cancer

Colon (colorectal) cancer is incredibly common, affecting almost 5% of both men and women. And this is exactly why colonoscopies are recommended for older patients! The earlier this condition is detected, the easier it is to treat and the less likely you are to need colon surgery.