Checkup is best prescriptionfor preventing most illnesses

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If an aneurysm is found, the aorta can be replaced through surgical or minimally invasive procedures. Having discovered it, the mortality rate drops to 1 to 2 percent, he says.

Anyone with the suspicion of pancreas problems could discuss having an endoscopic ultrasound or endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography with their physician, says Dr. Patrick Jackson, assistant residency program director at Georgetown University Hospital .

Jaundice and abdominal pain are signs of pancreatic cancer. The symptoms, however, may not appear together.

“The only people who survive pancreatic cancer are those who are picked up early,” Dr. Jackson says. “If you have abdominal pain, you ought to go see your primary care physician, and let them help guide you through figuring out the abdominal pain.”

Genetic tests, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 for breast and ovarian cancer risk, and the Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colon Cancer test, can be helpful when considered with a family medical history, says Beth Peshkin, senior genetic counselor at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital.

Fewer than 10 percent of breast cancers are attributable to inherited factors, she says. Cancer is usually developed through the combination of genes and environment. Further, even with a gene mutation that indicates elevated risk, it doesn’t mean the person will get cancer.

Genetic tests, however, usually provide life-changing information, she says. Patients should be ready to hear the test results and be willing to take preventative steps.

“You have a piece of information that you didn’t have before,” Ms. Peshkin says. “Most people choose to get tested because they want to do something proactive.”

For people with busy schedules, a one-stop shop might be the way to address many health concerns, says Dr. Craig Cheifetz, medical director of the Inova Executive Health Center in Falls Church.

The center partners with corporations to provide comprehensive health screenings for their executives. Individuals also can pay for the screening themselves for around $2,000, which varies depending on a person’s specific needs. One person goes through the program per day.

A concierge nurse takes the patient through a list of tests, such as blood work, hearing tests, vision tests, lung function tests, a chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram, an exercise treadmill test with a cardiologist, flexibility testing and body fat analysis. The visit also involves taking an hourlong health history and physical exam. The patient submits a three-day food diary to a nutritionist who makes dietary recommendations.

“Northern Virginia has a lot of people who spend a lot of time working, but don’t spend a lot of time working on their health,” Dr. Cheifetz says. “This way you can go to one place that does it all.”

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