Atkins preaches ounce of prevention to Lions

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

Andrew Atkins,

a certified registered nurse practitioner, shared some valuable preventative healthcare guidelines with members of the Greenville Lions Club on Monday.

Atkins, a Montgomery resident who works with general surgeon Dr. Norman McGowin in Greenville, urged his listeners to maintain regular checkups throughout their adult lives.

&#8220Basically, when you're a kid, your parents take you and make sure you get your shots and checkups. As you get older, you tend to stray away from getting those checkups for yourself,” Atkins said.

He said everyone should have a comprehensive health exam at age 20, and between the ages of 20 and 39, women should get pap smears, clinical breast exams and perform monthly breast self-exams.

&#8220Men should perform testicular self-tests regularly – testicular cancer is the number-one killer of men between the ages of 16 and 35, but if it's caught early, it is very treatable.”

Checking up on blood pressure and cholesterol levels is also important for both sexes, the CRNP said.

Atkins recommends everyone should have a tetanus booster between the ages of 20 and 39 and have dental cleanings and screening every 6-12 months.

Between the ages of 40 and 59, all the previous exams and tests will be needed, along with prostate and rectal exams for those over 50.

&#8220If you have a family history of these types of cancers, you should get these exams at age 40,” Atkins said.

At age 40, it is recommended both men and women have a baseline EKG, with additional tests done &#8220if there are symptoms showing up later on.”

Atkins also strongly recommends colorectal and breast screenings in the 40-59 age group, with colorectal and breast cancers being a major cause of death for the age group.

For those age 60 and up, pneumonia and influenza immunizations should be added to the list, along with glaucoma screenings, Atkins said. He also recommended adding screenings for colon cancer and basic lab work, if it is not being done already.

The CRNP also took questions from the audience on health-related subjects, included PSA tests, efficacy of herbal supplements, cancer screening and the use of Tamiflu.

&#8220I do believe in preventative medicine. Basically, if you maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise and your regular checkups and exams as needed, you will be much better off.”

Atkins will be speaking at LV Stabler Hospital on March 31 on the subject of colorectal cancer and how to screen for it. The event will be open to the public.

For more information on the upcoming health seminar, contact the hospital at 382-2671.