I have had an annual physical every year since 1968 – 31 of them were military aviation physicals. I believe they are valuable to your future health.
Scans using computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) are done routinely when your doctor needs additional information to diagnose a potential disease. These tests are expensive.
Ultrasound, x-rays, and bone scans are less expensive. Biopsies can always confirm a diagnosis, but it is a hit-or-miss proposition. My father had a prostate biopsy in his early 80s and was told that the cancer detected was a slow-growing one. He opted to have it removed, and they found a fast-growing cancer in an area that was not biopsied.
Current Blood Tests
https://www.healthline.com/health/cbc. Typically, a CBC (complete blood count) is done at a routine physical. They are also available at local testing facilities at a reasonable cost. Do a Google search for ‘cost of CBC blood test at a local laboratory,’ and you will find many blood tests and prices. I did one and found a CBC test locally priced at $19.
A CBC measures your red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and more. Anemia, autoimmune disorders, dehydration, heart disease, infection, inflammation, and more can be detected. I have been adding the c-Reactive Protein (CRP), homocysteine level, and vitamin D3 level blood tests to my annual tests.
CRP determines the inflammation level in the body. Nearly every disease starts with low-level chronic inflammation. Keep it as close to zero as possible, and you are limiting future diseases. The homocysteine level check is an excellent indicator of heart health. The vitamin D3 test is another indicator of your body’s overall health.
New Cancer Blood Test
https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/blood-test-cancer-dna-screen/2021/06/25/id/1026484/. A single blood test can now detect multiple cancers that current testing cannot detect. It uses cfDNA (cell-free DNA) https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/testing/circulatingtumordna/.
Scientists believe the cfDNA test can detect as many as 50 different cancers ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 4. The beginning of a tumor in the body that can be detected is called Stage 1. It progresses to Stage 4 when advanced symptoms are known.
This cfDNA test was able to correctly identify the existence of cancer in over half the cases. The false-positive rate was less than one percent. Nearly 3,000 patients with cancer and another thousand-plus healthy patients were tested using cfDNA.
The sensitivity rate of the cfDNA test was almost 40% for all-stage breast, bowel, cervical, and prostate cancers that had been diagnosed previously. However, two-thirds of the people with esophageal, liver, and pancreatic cancers were identified correctly – these cancers are much harder to detect. Details can be found in the Annals of Oncology with this link https://www.annalsofoncology.org/article/S0923-7534(19)48476-7/fulltext.
This appears to be a significant step forward in the detection of cancer. The earlier cancer (or any disease) can be detected, the higher the chance of cure. Many cancers do not have pronounced symptoms to prod an individual to see their physician. They wait and wait, and then the tumor might not be operable—another reason why annual physicals are important.
I did a quick cost check on this test and found various prices ranging from $500 to $2,000. Unfortunately, insurance coverage was not immediately available in my brief research. I am confident each company deals with it differently depending on the insurance plan you have.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com