Wilfredo Estrada, a 71-year-old New Haven resident and native of Peru, says getting colonoscopies is “muy necesario.” His father died from colon cancer at age 65, and he knows family history plays a role in cancer risk. Estrada described his odyssey fighting polyps detected by preventive colonoscopy screenings, which he has been getting since 2018. During the most recent procedure, Estrada says, the doctor found and extracted 29 polyps, all noncancerous. When asked if he tells people he knows how important it is to get screened, Estrada responded through his interpreter, “No. It’s not something I like to share with others.”
By staying current with colonoscopies, Estrada is doing his part to avoid becoming a cancer statistic.
Nearly 40% of preschool-aged children nationwide have never had a vision screening, new data suggests, and there are disparities in who has been tested. During 2016 and 2017, only 63.5% of children 3 to 5 years old had their eyes tested by a doctor or other health professional, and whites were more likely to have been tested than blacks and Hispanics, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Childhood vision screenings can lead to early detection of vision disorders. The United States Preventative Service Task Force, an independent panel of experts, and the American Optometric Association recommend children in that age group have their eyes checked at least once, even if they’re asymptomatic and at low risk for problems.
“The purpose of a screening is to pick up any red flags, warning signs or risk factors for vision problems,” said Dr. Caroline DeBenedictis, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and an assistant professor at UConn School of Medicine. “Vision screening should be happening from the time [children] are born.”
Early detection plays a major role in improving outcomes, she added.
When the American Cancer Society announced new guidelines for mammograms a week ago, the response on the organization’s Facebook page was swift. “For adoptees, this just adds 5 more years of potential unknowing,” wrote Angela from Connecticut. “Without a medical history, we are denied mammograms through insurance carriers.”
And then Dr. Henry Jacobs, a Hartford area longtime OB-GYN who, among other duties, serves as the Connecticut State Medical Society president, took to Facebook, too, and posted a message that summarized the general rage: “It is clear that rationing care is the new sales pitch and sacrificing women that could live out their lives is considered acceptable. I think it is UNCONSCIONABLE!!!!!!! We can afford athletes, entertainers, CEOs, hedge fund scammers that make upwards of a 100 million $$$$$ a year, but we can’t provide decent medical care to people???
Despite studies that may have turned off older women from taking calcium supplements, experts and new findings say there is no increased risk of having cardiovascular problems – if women communicate with their doctors and take the supplements properly. “I don’t think women should be overly concerned about taking calcium supplements in the recommended doses,” said Dr. Jaime Gerber, an associate clinical professor of medicine and clinician in the cardiology department at the Yale School of Medicine. There is “no real clear indication” that taking calcium supplements heightens people’s risk for cardiac ailments, he said. Traditionally, many women – particularly those who are approaching menopause or who are post-menopausal – have taken calcium supplements in an effort to ward off osteoporosis, a disease that reduces bone density and affects women more commonly than men. About 54 million people in the United States are affected by osteoporosis and low bone mass, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and that number is expected to jump to 64.4 million by 2020.