Back to Top Preventive Health - The Ottawa Hospital


Here at the family health team, we are committed to your overall health and well-being. Periodic health exams and screening tests are an important part of your care in order to prevent illness or disease.

Please read the topics below for more information on the various screenings and assessments that are available to you.

Breast Cancer Screening

What is Breast Cancer Screening?
A mammogram is a low dose X-ray of the breast. The X-ray can find changes in the breast, even when the changes are too small for you or your doctor to feel or see. It can help to find small breast cancers early. In Ontario, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. However if breast cancer is found at an early stage there is a high rate of successful treatment.

Who should get this test?
Women aged 50-69 should have a Mammogram every 2 years.

How do I get this test done?
Contact the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) at the Hampton Park Plaza, 1419 Carling Ave, Suite 214. You can call 1-800-465-6226 or 613-728-0777 to schedule an appointment for your mammogram.

Cervical Cancer Screening

What is Cervical Cancer Screening?
A Pap test or smear is a gynecology exam. The Pap test looks at the cells of your cervix and can show if there are unhealthy changes in these cells, including if there is cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is not life-threatening if it is caught early. This is why getting a Pap test regularly is so important.

Who should get this test?
Women aged 35-69 should have a Pap smear every 2 years.

How do I get this test done?
Schedule an appointment for a Pap Smear with your doctor, resident, nurse or nurse practitioner at your clinic.

Cognitive Assessment

What is a cognitive assessment?
A cognitive assessment is a comprehensive assessment of your risk for dementia which includes:

  • A memory assessment
  • Review of vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes
  • A review of laboratory tests and medications
  • Recommendations for treatment and monitoring of dementia if present

Who should have this assessment?
Anyone concerned about their memory, or who has a family member concerned about their memory or changes in their behaviour should have a cognitive assessment. It is also recommended that patients over the age of 65 with vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity get a cognitive assessment.

What are some of the signs of dementia?
Signs of dementia can include:

  • Changes in behaviour such as worsening forgetfulness, missed appointments, apathy
  • Mood changes
  • Repetitive questions
  • Decreased social interaction
  • Driving incidents
  • Neglect of personal care

How do I get a cognitive assessment done?
You can schedule an appointment for a cognitive assessment with the nurse practitioner, doctor, or resident at the clinic.

Colon Cancer Screening

What is Colon Cancer Screening?
The new FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) is an at-home test to check for colon cancer. It is safe and painless, takes only a few minutes to do, only needs one stool sample, you do not need to change your diet or medication before doing the test.

Who should get this test?
If you have no symptoms and are at average risk of getting colon cancer, you should be checked using the new fecal immunochemical test (FIT). A person is at average risk for colon cancer if they are 50 to 74 years old with no first-degree relative (parent, sibling or child) who has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

How do I get this test done?
Talk to your doctor or nurse about this test. They will send a request to LifeLabs and a kit will be sent directly to your home. You complete the test at home and mail back to LifeLabs. You will receive your results by mail.

Preventative Health Exams (PHE)

It is recommended that you see your doctor at least every three to five years for a complete preventive care visit. At your preventative health exam, or PHE, routine screening tests for men and women are included as well as preventative counseling, a health risk assessment, and an update of your immunizations. More frequent visits may be needed depending on your family history and current health status. Please ask with your health-care provider about how frequently you should schedule an appointment for a preventative health exam.

Routine screening tests should include:

  • height and weight check every 1-3 years
  • blood pressure check at least every 2 years
  • vision screening every 2 years
  • blood tests for cholesterol at least every 5 years after age 35
  • glucose screening every 2-3 years after age 45
  • stool tests for hidden blood every year over the age of 50
  • Pap test with clinical breast exam every 1-3 years
  • mammography every 2 years after the age of 50
  • annual flu vaccine
  • tetanus update every ten years
  • Stool test for colon cancer every 2 years after the age of 50

Waist Circumference

Research shows that where you carry your fat is important – if not more important – than your weight. Your weight may be fine but your waist circumference could place you at increased risk for:

  • Blood Cholesterol Type II diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure

Your waist circumference is another “Vital Sign” of your health, like your Blood Pressure.

What is a healthy waist measurement?

  • Women      88 cm (35 in) or less
  • Men           102 cm (40 in) or less

For people of Chinese or South Asian origin the healthy limit is less:

  • Women          80 cm (31in) or less
  • Men                90 cm (35 in) or less

If you are trying to get fitter it is a good idea to measure your waist each month. You can use the chart above. Ask your health-care provider how to correctly measure your waist.


These are some of the common procedures that can be performed by our health-care professionals at our clinic.

  • Skin Tags
  • Moles and Cysts
  • Wart Treatment
  • Wound Suturing
  • Ear Syringing
  • IUD Insertion
  • Endometrial Biopsies
  • Dressing Changes and Wound Care

Last updated on: July 5th, 2019