Screenings are the key to disease management

by Maj. Chuck Unruh
U.S. Army Health Clinic Kaiserslautern

Health screening and tests save lives and are a crucial part of preventive health care. These tests can help ensure that common, serious diseases and conditions are detected and treated early.

The U.S. Army Health Clinic Kaiserslautern staff is concerned and makes every effort to improve their enrolled patients’ health. We will call or send letters or e-mails to those who require screening tests, as well as use nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines to manage chronic diseases.

If you are enrolled to the Kleber Clinic and have one of the chronic conditions that we are not currently managing, call 483-8729/6043 or  0631-411-8729/6043 to discuss your management plan. You may also e-mail

Diabetes in the United States is common, costly and complicated, but controllable. It is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States and may lead to long-term complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, toe or foot amputation and even death.
With appropriate and timely screening and management, this burden can be reduced significantly. Screenings for complications are important to determine your risk for developing eye, foot or kidney disease.
Those living with diabetes require regularly scheduled tests and screenings.

Colorectal cancer: men and women over 50
Colorectal cancer is cancer that develops in the colon or rectum, equally among males and females. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.
If everyone 50 and older had regular colorectal cancer screening tests, more than one third of the deaths could be avoided. Ninety-three percent of cases occur in people age 50 and older, and the risk increases with age.
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from abnormal growths in the colon or rectum, which can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. Most men and women should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 (if there is no family history of colorectal cancer), then continue at regular intervals.

Cervical cancer screening: women
Despite being preventable with proper screening, there were approximately 11,070 new cases of cervical cancer and 3,870 deaths in 2008, according to the National Cancer Institute. A pap smear is an exam your doctor does to check for signs of cervical cancer. A pap exam is required annually for all active duty female Soldiers and tracked in the Soldier’s individual medical readiness of MEDPROS – the Army’s automated medical readiness and immunization tracking system.

Other women should have a pap smear or pelvic exam every two to three years if in a relationship with only one partner and have had at least three consecutive normal pap smears. Annual screening may be recommended by your provider if you are on birth control medications, have more than one sexual partner or have had an abnormal pap smear or sexually transmitted disease in the past.
During your pap exam, your doctor will also check for sexually transmitted illnesses such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia and trichomonas that can go undetected in females. A female may have no symptoms or the symptoms may be so mild that she doesn’t notice them until they become more severe.

Breast cancer screening:
According to the National Cancer Institute, and based on rates from 2003 to 2005, 12.03 percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during their lifetime. Screenings can help doctors find and treat cancer early. An annual mammogram is required for all female Soldiers 40 years and older and recommended for all women 50 years and older with some exceptions.
A mammogram is an X-ray exam of the breasts. The goal of a mammogram is to find cancer when it is still too small to be felt by a woman or her doctor. Finding small breast cancers early by a mammogram greatly improves a woman’s chance of successful treatment. The entire procedure for a mammogram takes about 20 minutes. To schedule your mammogram appointment, call the Kleber Clinic, your enrolled clinic or Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s radiology at 486-7449/7367 or 06371-86-7449/7367.