Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

It’s no secret many of us have put off yearly checkups and other medical treatment due to the pandemic. It’s time to make an appointment for screenings. We know early detection can save lives.

Hannah Dignan, APRN, and Dr. Stephanie Schroder have more insight from Carle.

What age should women begin scheduling their mammograms?

The American Cancer Society recommends women without a history of breast cancer in their family should start having their annual screenings at 40 years old.

If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, ask your healthcare provider if you should start having mammograms earlier.

If you are younger than 40 and see anything unusual like a lump or swelling in the breast, redness or flaky skin on the breast, a nipple discharge, pain or a pulling in of the nipple, reach out to your doctor and make him or her aware so you can receive guidance.

For men, they should become familiar with their skin and their chest – noting any changes. Many men with breast cancer often think it’s skin cancer.

If a mammogram detects something unusual, what can Carle offer patients facing a diagnosis?

Carle is home to a High-Risk Breast clinic. Carle is currently the only healthcare provider in the region offering this service for patients with an increased risk of breast cancer due to familial or irregular breast biopsies. Referrals from a primary care provider like an OB/GYN or family doctor is needed.

Patients receive:
• Access to clinical trials.
• 2-D and 3-D mammography.
• Nurse navigator services.
• Multi-disciplinary approach to treatment.

What ages are key times for children to receive their screenings?

For children starting kindergarten, there are typically four:
1. MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
2. Varicella (chickenpox)
3. DTap (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis/whooping cough
4. Polio booster shot

Children in 6th grade, or at age 11, are asked to get a tetanus and pertussis booster shot as well as a meningitis vaccine. Immunization from the human papilloma virus (HPV) is also recommended at this time. If a child missed any vaccinations when they were younger, those also may be made up at this time.

What kind of questions are asked during a physical exam for a child?

Carle screens for health and safety of the child:

o How well the child is sleeping
o How the child is eating
o Kindergarten children need to see an eye doctor
o Regular menstrual cycles in girls of that age
o Anxiety, depression, bullying
o How much screen time the child has
o Are they having their teeth checked?
o Is there smoking in the house?
o Does the child use a seat belt or protective restraint in a vehicle?
o Are there guns in the child’s house and how they are stored?
o Does the child ride a bicycle?

Should a child receive a COVID-19 vaccine before the school year?

FDA and CDC have approved COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for children ages 12-17 for certain vaccine manufacturers. We, in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend a COVID-19 vaccine for all adolescents 12 years of age and older who do not have contraindications using a COVID-19 vaccine authorized through EUA, recommended by the CDC and appropriate for age and health status.

You can go to the website,, to find the nearest clinic and information on how schedule an appointment.

For those choosing not to have your child vaccinate, many schools have a religious or personal exemption form that will need to be completed. Our providers ask that you sign a document stating that you have discussed immunizations with your provider and that you have decided not to immunize your child.

What should a parent tell their child before getting a physical exam?

Never promise them they will not get a shot (that could change once the child is evaluated by the physician). Make appointments as soon as possible, especially if a child needs to have forms completed for school.

Sports physicals need to be scheduled as early as possible because schools do not have any information to carry over from last school year due to many children not participating in athletics.