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Why you and your family should have a primary care physician

“Having that one person, that one provider who’s really looking out for your overall health is just so important,” said Physician’s Assistant Victoria Vanacore.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Do you have a Primary Care physician? If not, you might want to consider finding one.

Primary care doctors see people not only when they are sick, but also for yearly check-ups, and they help schedule important screenings. They provide prevention care and maintenance as needed.

“Having that one person, that one provider who’s really looking out for your overall health is just so important,” said Victoria Vanacore, Physician’s Assistant with Saint Francis Medical Partners. “Everyone, male and female should have a primary care physician.”

Doctors said it’s important for people to utilize primary care doctors when they can, rather than overburdening emergency rooms.

“Work, life, children, things get busy. A global pandemic happens and we just, you know, we forget about taking care of our own health. So, if you don’t have a primary care physician, you don’t have somebody ordering these things for you, managing them and making sure you’re getting what you need when you need them,” said Vanacore.

Vanacore said COVID played a part in changing when people go see their doctor.

“We have seen through COVID a lot of changes in medicine. A lot of people falling off the wagon as far as preventative care. I am finding in my practice that we really need to focus on getting our patients back on their routine screening,” she said. “Detection early is key with everything.”

Those routine screenings are important – and can creep up on a patient.

“Breast cancer screening, starting at age 40 for females. We screen with a yearly mammogram. If there’s any first-degree relatives that have had breast cancer, that screening usually does begin earlier.”

“Both men and women should have colon cancer screening, starting at age 45. That can be done through home fecal testing, or you can go under direct visualization to a gastro enterologist and have a colonoscopy done.”

“Prostate cancer, this is only for the males obviously. It’s a blood test. So, simple through the vein. We start screening for that at age 45. Unless there’s a first-degree relative who has had prostate cancer. So, a father or a brother, that we start that at age 40.”

Vanacore said seeing a primary care doctor can help patients make sure they are set for a long healthy future.

“We’re able to set you up with all the different specialties and you know we call it continuity of care. We want to have all of your records in one place. It’s a checklist. You’ve had your colonoscopy. You’ve had your mammogram. You’ve done your prostate screening if you’re a male. Having it all in one place and then having your go to person is just so important and we’re here. You know we’re here to help.”

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