7 health checks you should never skip

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7 health checks you should never skip

As much as we might not like to acknowledge it, there’s a stark reality all humans face: ageing massively increases the chances of illness and disease. That’s why it’s so important to be proactive, and take charge of our health – and that includes getting health checks. So pick up the phone and make an appointment, missy, because these ones shouldn’t be skipped…

SKIN CHECKS

This probably won’t come as a shock, but skin cancer is one of our Australia’s biggest killers. It’s also the third most common cancer in both men and women, and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. Those are heavy statistics. To stay on top of the signs, keep an eye on any moles. Most moles are harmless, but some develop into malignant melanomas. A skin check every six months will pick up on these and ensure you get the treatment you need.

BOWEL CANCER SCREENING

According to cancer.org.au, bowel cancer has the second highest number of cancer related deaths after lung cancer. In 2012, there were almost 4000 deaths in Australia, and while the risk is higher for men and those over the age of 60, you can – and should – get screened for the early signs.

CERVICAL SCREENING

In Australia, about 780 women are diagnosed with the disease every year and about 1.5% of all cancers in Australian woman are cervical cancer. Cervical smear tests can detect abnormalities which, if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer – so make sure you get them regularly.

The National Cervical Screening Program in Australia recommends all women aged between 18 and 70 who have ever been sexually active have a Pap test every two years starting from around 18 years of age.

Dr Sally Norton told MailOnline that the risk of cervical cancer increases “by having a lot of sexual partners”, which also elevates the risk of contracting viruses associated with cervical cancer, such as genital warts. Oh, and smokers are at double the risk, so it might be time to finally cut that habit…

CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD CHECKS

As you age, it’s important to have your GP test your cholesterol levels and blood pressure regularly. High levels of cholesterol can build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. If you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, or are diabetic, overweight or a smoker, you’re also at a higher risk. It’s also crucial to know that there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so you won’t be able to tell if you do unless you get tested.

BREAST CANCER SCREENING

Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women in Australia, and the second most common cancer to cause death in women, after lung. Alarmingly, more and more women in their twenties are being diagnosed with the cancer, so conducting self-checks is a good habit to get into, along with getting annual breast screens. Breast screening can detect breast cancer in its early stages via an x-ray called a mammogram. The best thing about mammograms is that they can pick up cancer well before any visible changes, such as lumps.

EYE TESTS

An eye test will do more than identify whether you need glasses. It can also detect early signs of conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma. Pretty cool, huh?

Do you get regular health checks?

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