Why you shouldn't skip these health appointments

It may be easy to come up with excuses for missing a routine health appointment. However, the possible consequences of missing out on appointments far outweigh any concerns.

Dental exam and cleaning

Along with brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing daily, visiting your dentist regularly is a crucial part of good oral health. Your dental hygienist will clean your teeth, removing tartar that can only be treated professionally. In addition, your dentist will check for oral diseases, such as cavities, gum disease and oral cancer, along with other diseases that produce symptoms in the mouth. Catching problems early makes them easier and less costly to treat.

Between checkups, it’s smart to perform a monthly self-check of your mouth. See your dentist if you discover any sores, irritations, red or white patches and/or lumps that last more than two weeks.

Cancer screening

As with oral cancer, early detection of other cancers can be the key to a better outcome. Routine screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer and more are vital, especially if you have a family history of cancer. It’s critical to contact your physician immediately if you experience possible cancer symptoms, such as seeing blood in the toilet, having difficulty swallowing or finding a lump.

Screening for breast cancer every two years reduces breast cancer deaths by 26% compared to no screening.1

Skin check

Skin cancers are usually curable if treated early. Risk factors, such as previous occurrences of skin cancer, skin type, family history, and exposure to the sun or indoor tanning beds, will determine how often you should get a skin check from your dermatologist or physician. It’s a good idea to do a monthly self-check to look for changes in moles, freckles and other marks on your skin. If you notice a change in color or bleeding, see your physician immediately.

When melanoma is detected early, the five-year survival rate is about 99%.2

Wellness checkup

During a routine exam, your physician may check your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, heart, lungs and more. You’ll also get the opportunity to discuss any questions and concerns you have about your health.

While everyone should see their physician regularly, it’s particularly important if you are above age 50, have chronic health issues or are at higher risk for health problems.

Mental health appointments

Like other parts of your overall health, early intervention is key to good mental health. Feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt, shame or just not feeling like yourself should be discussed with your physician or a mental health professional. People who regularly receive in-person mental health management should never put off their appointments.

As many as three-quarters of mental disorders start by the time a person reaches their mid-20s.3

Schedule your appointments as soon as possible. Then make sure to keep them. Health appointments are safe and they’re vital, even when you’re not aware of any immediate problems.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2Skin Cancer Foundation

3National Center for Biotechnology Information

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