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Happy Ground Hog's Day

On this Ground Hog's Day, ask yourself how much you have in common with the cute little creature. Do you pop your head outside of your hole only to see if it's sunny? Do you dive right back in if there's bad news to deal with? If so, you could be neglecting your health. Numerous studies have shown that optimists fare far better than pessimists when dealing with health problems in general. . .and those with a take charge perspective are much likely to consult their physicians at the first sign of a problem rather than waiting 6 weeks to see if the problem will just resolve on its own.

While the ground hog has nothing to fear from a long winter, women who ignore suspicious findings like a breast lump or an unusual discharge have plenty to fear. Ironically, putting off a doctor's visit is often motivated by fear-fear of bad news like cancer, or fear of an uncomfortable or embarrassing medical procedure. But studies of most cancers from skin cancer, to breast cancer to colon cancer and many others support that the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.

So this year, don't act like a Ground Hog-if you're overdue for a general check-up, a mammogram, or a colon cancer screening test, come out of your hole and just do it. Who knows? Spring just might come earlier this year.

Created: 2/2/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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