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Preventative Screenings Worth Scheduling

Preventative Screenings Worth Scheduling

When it comes to your health, taking a proactive approach by taking preventative measures can give you the best quality of life. Preventative screenings can detect issues early on which gives you the best chance at treatment. Far too many Americans are dying from preventable diseases that can almost always be treated if found early. With the medical advancements today, we all have the ability to achieve more successful outcomes than ever before. 

Lung CT

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US. The survival rate for lung cancer is 12% and has not changed in 40 years. However, if detected at stage I, the survival rate is 70-80%. Lung CT screening provides more detailed information than conventional X-rays making it possible to diagnose and manage lung cancer earlier and more effectively. Detection of cancers when they are much smaller are far more easily treated or cured. This test takes less than 15 minutes and requires no preparation.

Who should have this exam?

  • History of smoking
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Occupational exposure (Shipyard, military, asbestos, coal miners)
  • Unexplained cough or fever
  • As a substitute for annual chest x-ray after age 35
  • History of unexplained, recurrent pneumonias
  • History of multiple x-rays as a child, including multiple scoliosis surveys
  • Previous history of any cancer

Virtual Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US and almost always begins with an abnormal growth, or polyp. If polyps are detected and removed before they become malignant, this deadly cancer may be escaped. Although the effectiveness of traditional colonoscopy for preventing and detecting colorectal cancer is unquestioned, many avoid them because of its invasiveness. Virtual colonoscopy is done with a CT scan and is non-invasive, quick, requires no sedation, allows patients to return to work, and is less expensive. It is also more comfortable and much faster than the traditional colonoscopy. The risks and the recovery from virtual colonoscopy are also much lower. Studies have shown this procedure was found to be just as effective, if not more effective than the traditional colonoscopy.

This test takes approximately 30 minutes and requires a preparation 48 hours prior to the exam. CO2 is placed in the colon through a small tube during the procedure so that it will evaporate and not expel.

Who should have this exam?

  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Family or patient history of polyps
  • Those who prefer to not have a regular colonoscopy
  • Men or women over age 45 with prior normal colonoscopy
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Blood in stool
  • Unexplained weight loss or change in appetite
  • Wellness screening every 5 years after age 40
  • Previous history of any cancer
  • History of multiple x-rays as a child, including multiple sclerosis

Breast Mammogram And Breast MRI

The survival rate of breast cancer directly correlates with the size of the cancer. The smaller the tumor, the greater the chance of survival. Finding cancer earlier can ultimately mean the difference between life and death. If you are an average risk patient, it is important to start getting annual mammograms at age 40. If you have a family history, it is recommended to start annual screenings 10 years before your first-degree relative had breast cancer.

Breast MRI is a highly sensitive tool for creating dynamic, three-dimensional images of breast tissue. It is a valuable tool in the assessment of dense breasts when used as an adjunct to traditional breast imaging modalities. A physician’s prescription is necessary for this test.

Who should have this exam?

  • Inconclusive mammogram
  • Breast or chest pain with inconclusive mammogram or ultrasound
  • Evaluation of breast implants for possible rupture or to exclude cancer
  • High risk breast patients under the age of 45
  • Any patient with small dense breasts

Full Body MRI

This exam is used to evaluate the soft tissues of the body. Since tumors and inflammation produce an increased amount of water and swelling, an MRI searches for areas of abnormal water accumulation and swelling throughout the entire body. Specialized brain sequences can be used to detect early dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease. Special sequences can also be added to evaluate high-risk areas including the bile duct, liver, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, prostate gland, and testicles. MRIs involve no radiation and are good for detecting soft tissue cancers at an early stage. A physician’s prescription is necessary for this test.

This exam takes approximately 1 hour, depending on the required views. It requires administration of one Bentyl tablet the night before the exam and one on the day of the exam. The patient must also fast 6 hours prior to the exam.

Who should have this exam?

  • History of neurological problems, such as atypical headache or family history of aneurysm
  • Family history of stroke
  • Any risk factor favoring early detection of cancer of the brain, bladder, liver, pancreas, prostate, gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, or neck
  • Joint or extremity problems or unexplained pain
  • Wellness evaluation, especially in patients under 50
  • Unexplained weight loss, malaise, fatigue
  • Previous history of cancer

Cardiac Score

This exam is a CT scan of the chest that measures calcium in the coronary arteries. The score that is generated helps to determine the patient’s cardiovascular risk when combined with the traditional cardiac risk factors. Coronary calcium scoring is highly predictive of obstructive coronary artery disease. This test takes less than 15 minutes and requires no preparation.

Who should have this exam? Those 40 years old or over with increased risk for heart disease from:

  • Family history of heart disease, particularly with family members with the onset of heart disease before the age of 50
  • Smoking
  • Elevated total or LDL cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol
  • Elevated C-reactive protein
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High stress job
  • Unexplained chest discomfort
  • Previous history of heart disease
  • Premature menopause
  • Abnormal lipoprotein A
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Schedule Your Preventative Screenings Today. 

Townsen Memorial Hospital Is Here For You

At Townsen Memorial, safe, effective, and affordable care is our top priority. Therefore, we strive to provide the best patient experience across all Townsen Memorial affiliated sites. The high-quality care starts at our Emergency Room and carries on through our Imaging Centers, Surgery Centers, and up through our Townsen Memorial Hospital. Our medical sites are located in Houston, TX, and the surrounding areas, to provide the best care to patients in and around Harris County. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.


1. MIF, You’re Covered! The 4 Preventative Scans Worth Scheduling, accessed 12/20/2021

2. ProScan, Preventative Screenings, accessed 12/20/2021

Clinics, Health Tips, Imaging Centers, Breast cancer, MRI, CT Scan, heart disease, cancer