The importance of health

Dr Anthony Virtue, Managing Director of Virtue & Partners, talks with Dr John Cummins on the importance of looking after your health for corporate employees and individuals.

Transcript of Interview

Tony Virtue: Greetings, as part of our series introducing key friends and colleagues, I’m very proud and privileged to introduce Dr. John Cummins to you today.

John is my own physician, and one of the things you learn very quickly in life is to make sure you’re surrounded by good people who can take care of you when you most need it. Welcome, John.

Dr. John Cummins: Thanks, Tony.

Tony: Thanks for joining us today. John, perhaps you could just explain a little bit about the value of annual checkups and what you seek to achieve by doing it.

John: I think there’s probably nothing more important in life than your health.  At the end of the day, I think relationships and financial security are critical, but if you haven’t got your health then you haven’t really got anything.

I’m like most doctors. I’m very well trained in illness medicine, but what really inspired me 25 years ago was the power of prevention.

We can probably stop about 80 percent of the causes of premature death before the age of 85.

Preventable Disease

Broadly speaking, you’ve got heart disease and plumbing problems, 90 percent of which are lifestyle related, and you’ve got cancers.

If you think logically of the cancers, you’re looking at…

1. lung cancer is the most common cancer, which is about smoking
2. bowel cancer as number two, which you can prevent with a colonoscopy
3. prostate cancer, which you can pick up early
4. breast cancer, which you can check with a mammogram and/or ultrasound
5. Lymphomas and melanomas are five and six, which you can check with a physical examination

Your health is really your greatest asset

We can get you to 85 in great shape, with probably 80, 90 percent probability.

Your job is basically to show up for an annual health check and our job is to look for you, look for signs of early problems, and make sure that you are doing those right things that’s going to ensure that you get to that age without any chronic illness.

The evidence is there

It’s very clear and critically important. Businessmen get it. They really get it, so that we see that they follow success principles in life.

Part of it’s prioritising

Goal setting, coming in, typically, once a year and have the annual top to toe checkup, and they follow advice as we give it to them.

Tony: Well, thanks, John. I know that I feel an awful lot better having gone through that process personally.

John: It’s reassuring, isn’t it?

Tony: It is. It can be a little confronting the first time, but once you’ve gone through that process… let me say this.

I don’t think ignorance is bliss with medicine. I think whatever position you’re in, get in front of a good, qualified doctor.

Even if it’s bad news, the sooner you know about it, the better. Having been to far too many funerals and seen far too many cancer and trauma claims over the last few years, prevention is much better than a cure.

Final question, John. For those who don’t have a regular physician at the moment who are keen on an annual checkup who are keen on an annual checkup, how would they go about doing that with you?

John: Just go to or call us on 9290 3259.

I think we do it probably as well as anyone in Australia, but if you’ve got a really good doctor, that’s great, but at the end of the day you just want to make sure that you’ve got someone who’s got an interest and an expertise in prevention as well as managing a chronic illness, should it occur, basically.

Tony: That’s great, John. Well, thanks for joining us today.

John: Well, thanks, Tony. It’s been a pleasure.

About the author

Dr. John Cummins, consultant physician and CEO, specializes in preventative medicine and longevity. With over 30 years of experience, he integrates technology with evidence-based practices to enhance health outcomes.

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