A new study from England shows that a routine physical exam does not benefit patients as regards their longevity, or in appreciably reducing risk of heart disease or cancer.

This is not a surprise and is good news really.  Why?  Because just doing an examination will have little benefit if people don’t head the warnings to eat better, exercise more, and smoke less.  Unfortunately, the examination time does not promote these behavior changes.

That said, I do think a physical exam is a moment to take stock of these issues and consider them in the context of general health, and as well, allows us to reassure patients that ‘at this time, you look fine and healthy’ and that reassurance is worth a lot to each of us in regards to peace of mind.

So….don’t stop getting your exams.  I think doing them at yearly or every other year intervals, still provides a psychological benefit, as well as a time for certain individuals to identify issues and make changes.