Between work, kids, activities, and other busy seasons of life, it’s all too easy to let taking care of yourself fall by the wayside. And when you do take some time for yourself, you’re likely thinking of a leisurely latte at the cafe, taking in the latest game, or maybe a great massage, not spending that time at the doctor’s office or health clinic.

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

65% of Americans over the age of 21 say they are behind on routine health screenings and tests1. People say they are behind for a number of reasons, including the costs involved and their fear of discovering they might have cancer. One-third of women age 40 and up say they are behind on their breast cancer screening, and while cost and fear are likely part of that equation, women say there is an additional reason they haven’t been screened yet. According to Kyra Meister, Senior Communications Manager at the Prevent Cancer Foundation, “16% of women who are not up to date on their breast cancer screening cite time as a barrier to staying up to date—saying their schedules are too busy or they cannot take time off from work.”2

The COVID pandemic has also played a role in people falling behind in medical visits and testing3. During the lockdown and in the following months, many individuals avoided medical office visits as much as possible in an effort to limit their exposure. Screenings and routine exams are now on the rise again, but there is still reason for concern. Ahmedin Jemal, a senior official at the American Cancer Society, says, “We know there was a deficit during Covid. But [visits] should have exceeded the pre-pandemic levels to offset the Covid years, but we haven’t gotten there yet.”4 According to the study that Jemal helped conduct, around 1 million women eligible for breast cancer screening missed testing, and 4.4 million women missed cervical cancer screenings. Prostate cancer screenings were missed by 700,000 men.5

The concern around these statistics is that cancers that would have been caught earlier and in potentially more treatable phases may now not be discovered until the diseases have progressed.6

World Cancer Day is February 4th, 2024. The organization was started in an effort to combat the rising cancer rates that come with an enormous human toll, with yearly death rates from cancer reaching over 10 million people. According to the website, “More than one-third of cancer cases can be prevented. Another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly.”7 The organization seeks to inform people about cancer, screening, and healthy steps they can take, while also calling on governments and medical organizations to take greater action in the fight.

While there are numerous ways in which you take care of yourself, from eating a healthy diet to exercising to getting quality sleep, routine screenings are also part of your necessary self-care. Altrua HealthShare is unique in that female Members age 40 and up are required to have routine screenings every two years (breast cancer mammography or ultrasound and pap smears for cervical cancer) and prostate screenings every two years for male Members age 50 and up iif they want the Membership to participate in helping pay for eligible medical costs for cancer treatment should that diagnosis arise. These required screenings are included in many of the memberships available. This helps Altrua HealthShare Members stay on top of their medical screenings while also potentially allowing Members to seek treatment earlier in a cancer cycle. These measures are one way that Altrua HealthShare continues to support its Members in their healthy lifestyles.

This year, in honor of World Cancer Day, consider making it the day that you call and get those routine exams and screenings scheduled. If you’re an Altrua HealthShare Member, you likely have received an email from the Altrua HealthShare team to remind you of your required screenings. If you have questions regarding which screenings you need and how the Membership shares in those screenings, reach out to a Member Services Representative at 1.888.244.3839. If you’re considering becoming a Member of Altrua HealthShare and would like more information on how Altrua HealthShare can help you with an affordable, flexible approach to healthcare, visit the website at or contact us at 1.877.417.6643.

Make taking care of your health your first action in taking care of you.