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Annual wellness visits slow, but are still vital for health

Updated March 16, 2021 - 10:26 pm

Some people have delayed an annual trip to the doctor’s office to stay on top of their health maintenance during the pandemic.

But the need for that annual appointment is still an important task.

“It’s still important for people to come in for their well checks and stay on top of their health maintenance as we call it—do their yearly labs and cancer screening,” said Dr. Ryan McComb at Southwest Medical.

McComb said it’s still safe to come into the office as long as people follow general recommended guidelines, including wearing a mask and not coming in if you’re sick.

There has been a slowdown of people coming into the office.

“I think last year a lot of people wanted to hold off until the COVID-19 thing was over, but we’re doing our best to reach out to people, getting them to come in,” McComb said.

What’s included in a screening?

Depending on age and the health of a person coming in for an annual check, different types of checks may be considered.

“They’re generally based on age and gender, and there’s some adjustment for what medical conditions they may already have or family history of certain illnesses,” McComb said.

A little extra time is usually taken with an annual visit.

“We like to take a little bit more time than usual—typically half an hour or more if we have the time to spend with the patients talking about as much stuff as we can—because there is a lot to talk about,” McComb said.

Many of these annual checks could include cancer screening for women and men.

“Younger women get screening for cervical cancer,” McComb said. “They do that up to the age of 65, so it’s not just for young women.”

Other cancers screened for include breast cancer and colon cancer.

McComb said, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second most cancer killer.”

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women, and the number three most deadly type of cancer.

“Around the age of 50 is when we start screening for these types of cancer—breast cancer and colon cancer,” McComb said.

McComb said they start screening for diabetes when people turn 35.

McComb stressed that people should come in for an annual visit.

“I think the main message is it’s easy to get caught up with sort of problem-based medicine,” McComb said. “You come in with an issue, and you want to get it fixed or you need one thing or another. But sometimes, you have to remember that even when everything is all good, there’s still maintenance and testing to be done to maintain your health and make sure everything is okay.”

Call the Pahrump Healthcare Center at 775-727-6400 for an appointment.

The office is at 2210 E. Calvada Blvd. in Pahrump.

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