Advance with MUSC Health

Back to Screenings: Don’t Neglect Routine Health Care

Advance With MUSC Health
September 02, 2021
Iris Ignacio, M.D., Samuel "Skip" Schumann, M.D., Garret Kent, M.D.

The last year and a half hasn’t been easy. Managing life amid a pandemic has taken its toll on so many, which is why routine appointments that were previously a priority, have now been placed on the backburner. But putting off routine screenings, yearly exams, and vaccinations can have dangerous long-term effects. MUSC Health physicians across the state say that now is the time to reschedule that missed mammogram, for example, because your health can’t wait.

“We understand why COVID has disrupted preventive patient care, but we cannot stress enough the importance of keeping up with your wellness visit,” says Iris Ignacio, M.D., primary care physician with MUSC Health Florence Medical Center. “Preventive care, and the regular screenings that come with that, can save your life.”

Here are just a few health concerns that are best treated with early detection:

Various types of cancer

Checking your body for and finding cancer before you have symptoms increases your chances of living longer. Mammograms, for example, can find breast cancer lumps two or three years before you can physically feel them, and research shows that breast cancer patients who were regularly screened had a 25% reduction in deaths.

“If someone has cancer, we want to find it early because that is when treatment is likely to work best,” says Dr. Samuel “Skip” Schumann, medical director for quality assurance and performance improvement in primary care for MUSC Health Charleston.

High Blood Pressure

Getting to the doctor to have your blood pressure checked is one of the most critical health care screenings. “Oftentimes, high blood pressure has no symptoms, so we can’t detect high blood pressure without measuring it,” says Schumann. “With early detection, we can control high blood pressure before it causes larger problems like stroke and heart disease.”

Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in the United States, which is why it’s also important to stay on top of your cholesterol.

High Cholesterol

With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels that can grow and block blood flow through your arteries. Should those deposits burst and form clots, you’re then at risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, angina and stroke. So knowing the status of your cholesterol can help you stay in control of your health and prevent venturing into dangerous territory.


Diabetes occurs when high glucose, or blood sugar, is present, and, if uncontrolled, can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Getting screened for diabetes can determine if you’re at risk so you can take steps to prevent it.

Mental Health Issues, Like Depression

With a sharp rise in mental health concerns since the start of the pandemic, it’s increasingly crucial to speak to someone if you haven’t felt yourself.

“A primary care provider can help, for starters, by asking about your behavior patterns, mood, feelings, and other symptoms,” says Garret Kent, M.D., a family medicine practitioner with MUSC Health Lancaster Medical Center. “Early identification and intervention can lead to better outcomes, like lessening long-term disability and preventing years of suffering.”

Chickenpox, Measles, Mumps, and More

Vaccinations are also an important part of public health. They prevent the spread of highly contagious, dangerous, and, sometimes, deadly diseases, like the measles, polio, chickenpox, mumps, whooping cough, and HPV. Following a recommended immunization schedule protects you (and your children) from long-term, preventable diseases. Talk to your provider about vaccines that are needed for you and your family.

If you’re having symptoms, take action now. If you skipped a screening, make an appointment. Your health can’t wait.

Schedule a screening or an appointment with an MUSC Charleston primary care provider online or call 843-792-7000. To schedule an appointment with an MUSC Florence primary care provider, visit, or for an MUSC Lancaster primary care provider, visit