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Health Screenings In the New Year: A New You Starts with Understanding the Current You

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Editor’s note: This blog post was medically reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD


As 2023 is here, you’re probably wondering how you can become a better version of yourself in the new year. These are important goals to have, particularly regarding your health. 

Before you embark on your “new you” journey, it’s critical to fully understand the “current you”. 

How do you accomplish this?

First, understand and assess your risk for certain cancers with Ezra’s cancer risk calculator based on the Harvard Cancer Risk Index. 

Second, routine preventive health screenings can help gauge the “current you” and plan for your most pressing future health goals. 

Let’s take a closer look at both strategies below. 

Table of Contents

Understanding Your Cancer Risk

There are several ways to get an idea of your cancer risk and take steps to prevent it. One option is to use a cancer risk assessment tool like what we developed here at Ezra. You can complete the quiz in 5 minutes. Learn more about the Ezra Cancer Risk Calculator.

The calculator is based on the Harvard Cancer Risk Index developed by the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention. You will answer a series of questions about your lifestyle and family medical history to help determine your risk for certain cancers. 

The calculator is based on the Harvard Cancer Risk Index developed by the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention.

You will answer a series of questions about your lifestyle and family medical history to help determine your risk for certain cancers. 

With this quick assessment, you can identify areas where you can make lifestyle or environmental changes to reduce your risk of cancer. Additionally, you may consider genetic testing to learn more about your risk. 

Calculate your risk now

Next, let’s take a look at health screenings. 

What Is a Health Screening?

photo of a healthcare professional with a patient

Have you ever gone to the doctor and had your blood pressure checked or blood drawn to determine your cholesterol? 

These are both examples of health screening tests, which help healthcare providers detect potential diseases or health conditions before you have symptoms. Health screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re much easier to treat.

It’s worth noting that health screenings are not considered diagnostic. Instead, they are useful in pinpointing a portion of the population that could use additional testing to find out the presence or absence of disease.

Why are Health Screening Tests Important?

Routine health screening tests can help assess the current status of your health, monitor your body across time, and flag any abnormalities early. 

According to Hopkins Medicine, medical tests aren’t just for diagnosing issues once you notice symptoms. They’re also used as an important part of routine preventive healthcare. 

Even if you feel healthy, having health screening tests regularly is a good idea. This allows you to:

  • Check for current or emerging medical problems.
  • Assess your risk of future medical issues.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Certain health screening tests may also help find pre-cancer in your body in the form of abnormal cells. Even if the abnormal cells become malignant, the good news is that regular checkups can help detect possible cancer at a very early stage. Early detection and diagnosis may increase the chance of successful treatment

Finally, when setting SMART health goals, you can use the health information from screening tests as your baseline data.

What are SMART Health Goals?

Setting SMART goals when considering your new year health goals is important. They help ensure you set the right goals and stick to them long-term.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Try not to be too general. Set clear, actionable goals.
  • Measurable: You should be able to monitor your progress.
  • Attainable: Avoid aiming too high or too low.
  • Rewarding and Relevant: Create goals that are flexible,  rewarding, and worthwhile to you. 
  • Timely: Set goals that are easily trackable and with a timeline. This will motivate you to work steadily on your goals.

Here are examples of SMART health goals you can set for the new year: 

  • Eating breakfast with a serving of protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables daily. 
  • Limiting soda intake to one can of soda per week.
  • Going for a brisk walk at least 30 minutes a day three times a week. 
  • To prepare for a 5K walk in 12 weeks, I will begin walking 15 minutes every 3 pm 3 times a week. 
  • For at least the next 4 weeks, I will take a healthy lunch to work at least  On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Health screening tests are a great way to get a baseline idea of your “current you” health in a specific, measurable way and allow you to track your progress over the new year.

Health screening tests are a great way to get a baseline idea of your “current you” health in a specific, measurable way and allow you to track your progress over the new year.

How to Choose the Best Health Screening Tests to Support Your New Year Health Goals

You can do different types of health checks and screening tests to support your new year’s health goals. 

The best health screening test options for you may depend on various factors like your age, gender, risk factors, and family history. 

Below is a list of possible health screening tests your doctor will recommend based on age and gender. 

Health Screening Tests for General Health

According to WebMD, everyone should regularly do certain checkups and tests to have a clearer picture of their current general health. 

These tests include:

  • Routine Physical Exam – A primary care doctor asks you health-related questions, checks your vitals, evaluates your physical appearance, checks your muscles and organs, looks over your head and neck, and, if necessary, takes a blood or urine sample for lab tests. Routine physical exams are normally covered by health insurance.
  • Height and Weight – A primary care doctor records your height and weight to measure your body mass index (BMI) and checks if you’re in a healthy weight range. A BMI in a healthy range helps protect you from things like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Otherwise, you may be at high risk for these diseases and conditions.
  • Blood Pressure – This is a measure of the pressure of your blood against the arteries. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. You have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke if it’s too high. 
  • Cholesterol Levels – Cholesterol is a type of waxy substance in the body, and high cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease and stroke. A cholesterol test is a blood test that checks your level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening – This test looks for colon cancer or cancer in the rectum by checking for blood or tissue growths called polyps.
  • Blood Sugar Test – This is a way to check for diabetes or prediabetes. It’s a simple test measuring the sugar (or glucose) level in your blood.
  • Skin Check – This is a preventive service in which a doctor checks moles, freckles, and other marks on your skin for abnormalities that may be skin cancer. Doctors recommend doing a skin self-exam once a month.
  • Bone Density – This test determines if you have osteoporosis, a disorder that makes your bones more fragile and likely to break. Through X-rays, this test measures how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are packed into a segment of bone.
  • Mammogram – This X-ray test looks for early signs of breast cancer as part of a breast cancer screening. Regular mammograms can help find breast cancer early, sometimes up to years before it can be felt.
  • Cervical Cancer Screening – This screening is used to find changes in the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer. Screening includes cervical cytology (also called a Pap test or Pap smear), testing for human papillomavirus (HPV), or both.
  • Prostate Exam – This screening looks for early signs of prostate cancer. A prostate exam can’t tell you for sure if you have cancer, but an abnormal result means that you’ll probably need a prostate biopsy.
  • Dental Checkup – A dentist looks for cavities, signs of gum disease, and other problems in your mouth. 
  • Eye Test – An optometrist checks your vision and eye health. A complete exam looks for signs of serious eye disorders that may not have symptoms, such as glaucoma.
  • Hearing Test – An audiologist checks your hearing to determine if you have hearing loss, the degree of hearing loss, and what type it is.
  • Mental Health Screening – A mental health care provider asks a standard set of questions to check for signs of a mental disorder. These questions help the provider learn about a person’s mood, thinking, behavior, and memory.

How Often Should You Get These General Health Screening Tests? 

Generally speaking, your primary care provider will recommend a health screening frequency relative to your age, risk factors, and current health status. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend getting routine preventative care to aid you in staying healthy and catching health issues early. This includes attending regular medical checkups and staying up-to-date on cancer screenings.

When it comes to cancer, the American Cancer Society has laid out the guidelines for early cancer detection to help you initiate a conversation with your doctor about screening for certain types of cancer. 

Health Screening Tests for Men

Men aren’t as likely as women to have preventive screenings with their healthcare providers. Early detection of medical problems is the best way to improve the effectiveness of treatment, so this is a big issue.

The best health screening tests for men may depend on their age group.

Health Screening Tests for Men 18-39 Years Old

Men between the ages of 18-39 are recommended to monitor their health through the following health screening tests:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Dental Exam
  • Eye Exam
  • Immunizations
  • Infectious Disease
  • Physical Exam
  • Testicular Exam
  • Skin Self-Exam

Health Screening Tests for Men 40-64 Years Old

The health screening tests that are recommended for men between the ages of 40-64 include:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Dental Exam
  • Diabetes
  • Eye Exam
  • Immunizations
  • Infectious Disease
  • Lung Cancer Screening
  • Osteoporosis
  • Physical Exam
  • Prostate Cancer Screening
  • Skin Exam
  • Testicular Exam

Health Screening Tests for Women

Like with men, the best health screening tests for women may depend on their age group.

Plus, women may also need to be screened for health issues that are unique to their gender.

Health Screening Tests for Women 18-39 Years Old

Targeted health screening tests for women between the ages of 18-39 years old include:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Dental Exam
  • Eye Exam
  • Immunizations
  • Infectious Disease
  • Physical Exam
  • Skin Self-Exam

Health Screening Tests for Women 40-64 Years Old

The health screening tests that are recommended for women between the ages of 40-64 include:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Cholesterol
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Dental Exam
  • Diabetes
  • Eye Exam
  • Immunizations
  • Infectious Disease
  • Lung Cancer Screening
  • Osteoporosis
  • Physical Exam
  • Skin Exam

Health Screening Tests for Older Adults (65+)

The accumulation of molecular and cellular damage over time results in aging. Physical and mental capacity tends to decrease, while the risk of disease tends to increase.

People are more susceptible to developing different medical conditions as they age, and regular screenings can detect underlying health issues early. 

Certain health screenings are critical for seniors to get done routinely, even if they don’t show any signs or symptoms. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, some of the screening recommended for older adults include:

  • High Blood Pressure Hypertension
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Lung Cancer / Tobacco Use
  • Prostate Cancer Screening
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • Depression

Exploring a Full-Body MRI Screening by Ezra

At Ezra, we offer full-body MRI screenings that look into your overall health and help detect signs of potential early cancer or disease. 

This type of health screening is designed to empower individuals with an advanced imaging modality that is accurate, fast, and cost-effective. You can scan up to 13 organs in less than an hour. 

An Ezra scan may include imaging of the following organs:

  • Adrenal glands 
  • Bladder
  • Brain
  • Gallbladder 
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Ovaries
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate
  • Spine
  • Spleen
  • Thyroid
  • Uterus

Along with the organ screenings mentioned above, Ezra offers two additional screening options:

An Ezra screening may detect early signs of cancer in the brain, spine, thyroid, lung, and liver, among others. 

Learn more: Cancer Warnings That May Appear on an Ezra Screening

A major advantage of an Ezra MRI screening is that, unlike Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, and X-rays, MRI does not use harmful ionizing radiation. You don’t need to worry about radiation exposure and can repeat the screening annually.

A major advantage of an Ezra MRI screening is that, unlike Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans, and X-rays, MRI does not use harmful ionizing radiation. You don’t need to worry about radiation exposure and can repeat the screening annually.

In addition, repeat screenings allow the patient to observe data about their body over time, providing an early warning system for abnormalities and consistent health promotion.

Ezra screenings also include a comprehensive assessment and follow-up consultation with a knowledgeable healthcare provider who offers each patient actionable advice based on the official radiology report. Through Ezra’s artificial intelligence-driven reporting solution, Reporter AI, Ezra members receive a patient-friendly, easily understood medical report. 

In summary, Ezra makes it easy for its patients to understand their bodies in detail and accurately plan their future health goals.

Learn more: MRI Scans Without Referral

Planning and Preparing for Health Screening Tests 

Often, planning and preparation are required before health screening tests, depending on the test. 

For a start, gather your family history and make a list of questions to ask your healthcare provider before your health screening test appointment. Next, ask your healthcare provider about specific preparations that might be required for a health screening (e.g., fasting before a colonoscopy). 

At Ezra, we aim to make patients as informed and comfortable as possible before a full-body MRI screening. You can find a complete breakdown of what to plan and prepare for your Ezra scan in this guide – What To Expect Before Your Ezra Screening

Discover the Current You to Embark on the New You

photo of a middle age couple about to embark on a hiking trip

Risk assessment is one of the best ways to give you baseline information about your body. This is why we’ve created a cancer risk assessment quiz that you can complete in just five minutes. In 2023, you can use this tool as a starting point to help you understand your “current you”. 

Risk assessment is one of the best ways to give you baseline information about your body. This is why we’ve created a cancer risk assessment quiz that you can complete in just five minutes.

In 2023, you can use this tool as a starting point to help you understand your “current you”.

In addition, health screenings are critical to understanding your body and staying healthy. Regular health screenings allow you to check for current or emerging health problems, assess your risk of future medical issues, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

In the new year, booking the right health screening appointments for your age and gender may be the best way to gain peace of mind and fulfill your future health plans and wellness goals.

Interested in taking control of your health and discovering your “current you” so you can embark on the “new you” this upcoming year? Start assessing your risk or book an Ezra Scan.

Do you have a loved one who could benefit from an Ezra scan? Purchase one of our Ezra gift cards.

Have any questions or concerns? Our team of experts is here for you. You can email the team at hello@ezra.com