6 health screenings that are more important as you age

Preventive testing is key to healthy aging. Here are the cancer and cardiovascular screenings you should consider.



Early screening tests for common and potentially fatal diseases are an important part of preventive health care.

Through them, physicians can discover illnesses or conditions in their earliest and most curable stages — often before symptoms appear.

Consult your health care provider regarding appropriate timing and frequency of available screening tests, because there are many variables.

“It really depends on each individual patient as there are different screenings that are appropriate for different age groups and genders,” says Emily Grewe-Nelson, D.O., a local family medicine doctor in the Hillcrest network. A yearly wellness exam allows your physician to discuss any needed health screenings.

Regular screenings include but are not limited to blood pressure, cholesterol, certain types of cancer, diabetes, depression, dementia and heart disease. Dental and vision exams also are an important component of preventative health care.

Guidelines for these screenings can vary. However many medical organizations cite the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) as the benchmark. Created in 1984, this group consists of 16 volunteer individuals who are nationally recognized experts in prevention, primary care and evidence-based medicine.

“At Warren Clinic, we generally adhere to evidence-based guidelines for what services to provide,” says Lance King, M.D., medical director of Warren Clinic. “A published guide of recommendations from the most authoritative group can be found on the USPSTF website (uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org).”

CARDIOVASCULAR SCREENINGS

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., according to the United Health Foundation.

Cardiovascular deaths result from heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack and heart failure. Cardiovascular disease is treatable and can often be prevented by healthy lifestyle changes if caught early enough.

Cardiac disease

The Cardiac Calcium Score is the most important evidence-based test, says Richard D. Kacere, M.D., a cardiologist at St. John Medical Center. “This scan has been shown to have increased prognostic value over and above traditional risk factors for cardiac disease.”

The screening exam uses computed tomography (CT) technology to easily ascertain the amount of calcium build-up in the coronary arteries, he says. It does not require an IV or X-ray dye, and results can be obtained in a matter of seconds.

“It is reasonable for an asymptomatic patient between the ages of 50-75 years old to get a Cardiac Calcium Score to help define their risk of future cardiac events,” Kacere says.

Blood pressure

If you’ve ever had a checkup at the doctor’s office, you’re familiar with the arm cuff and pump that provides an irritating squeeze and awkward silence while waiting for the results. Uncomfortable moments aside, the importance of this test cannot be understated.

One in three American adults has high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, high blood pressure often has no symptoms, which means routine testing is critical. Often called “the silent killer,” high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems including stroke and heart disease.

“If you’re looking for a basic screening that almost everyone needs,” Grewe-Nelson says, “a blood pressure screening once a year is recommended for men and women.”

People aged 40 and older, or with higher risk factors, should get their blood pressure checked annually, according to the Preventive Services Task Force. Risk factors include, but are not limited to obesity, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and African-American ethnicity.

Always included in your annual wellness exam, the blood pressure test measures how hard your heart is working to pump blood through your body. Two numbers are measured, the first (systolic) is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, the second (diastolic) is the pressure in your arteries between beats.

The American Heart Association defines normal blood pressure to be 120/80 or lower, and as of a 2017 report in conjunction with the American College of Cardiology, high blood pressure is defined as 130/80 or higher.

Unlike other screenings, self-testing can also be done at machines in pharmacies, some grocery stores and home monitoring machines.

Cholesterol

Similar to high blood pressure, people with high cholesterol don’t have signs or symptoms initially. A blood test is the only way to detect it.

Unfortunately, too much cholesterol in the blood vessels can build up and impede blood flow, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

The American Heart Association states that “hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids (or fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides. One type of hyperlipidemia — hypercholesterolemia — means there’s too much LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood. This condition increases fatty deposits in arteries and the risk of blockages.”

Often poor diet is the biggest contributing factor, and with proper lifestyle changes cholesterol can return to a healthy range.

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, cholesterol can be checked with a blood test called a lipid profile. The results will show four numbers, which include total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Consult your doctor about pre-test preparation, because fasting may be required for nine to 12 hours prior to the test.

The CDC recommends adults without heart disease have cholesterol checked every four to six years. Those with heart disease should consult their physician about routine screenings.

Risk factors include diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.

Like all screenings, it is important to discuss a plan with your physician because recommendations for the age of first screening vary. Retesting is usually performed every five years.

CANCER SCREENINGS

Cancer is a complex group of diseases with many possible causes, according to the American Cancer Society. USPSTF claims that screenings leading to early detection of lung, colorectal and breast cancers lends to better treatment and recovery.

Lung cancer

“Nearly 50 percent of cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and maintaining a healthy weight,” says Kevin Tulipana, D.O., director of hospital medicine and vice chief of staff at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa.

“Because prevention cannot stop everything, screening for health problems is extremely important,” he says.

Approximately 85 percent of lung cancer cases are due to smoking, according to the Preventive Services Task Force. Although the prevalence of smoking has decreased over the years, approximately 37 percent of U.S. adults are current or former smokers, its data says. The percentage of Oklahomans age 18-44 who smoke is 22.6 percent compared to 18.1 nationally.

Tulipana explains that when lung cancer is found early it is potentially curable; unfortunately, if it has grown past a local stage the survival rates decline rapidly.

“Annual lung cancer screening with a CT scan is the only screening method proven to reduce mortality related to lung cancer by almost 20 percent,” he says.

The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer in adults 55 to 80 years of age who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or quit within the past 15 years.

Their guidelines define “30 pack-year” as someone who has smoked a pack a day for at least 30 years. Other risk factors include family history, radon exposure, specific occupational exposures and history of chronic obstructive lung disease.

Colorectal cancer

“Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy,” Tulipana says. “Generally, people should consider beginning colorectal cancer screening at 50 years of age, but certain high-risk individuals should start much earlier. It is best to talk with your doctor about these risks and your family history to determine when to begin colorectal cancer screening.”

The USPSTF recommends routine colon cancer screening for adults aged 50-75. Those 76-85 should make an individual decision based on overall health and prior screenings.

Risk factors include but are not limited to family history of colorectal cancer, polyps in the colon, obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, sedentary lifestyle and Crohn’s disease.

Early detection is crucial because colorectal cancer can spread to other parts of the body.

The most common types of screening are stool-based tests or tests that look directly inside the colon and rectum. “The generally acceptable tests include high-sensitivity fecal occult blood identification, stool DNA testing, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy,” Tulipana says.

Frequency depends on the screening method used. A colonoscopy can possibly be done every 10 years. However, stool-based testing for microscopic blood requires annual testing.

Breast cancer

More than 40,000 women die from breast cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is the second most common cancer among women behind skin cancer. Regular screening can detect tumors at an early stage when they are most treatable.

Screening consists of clinical exams or a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast. The mammogram is considered the best way to detect breast cancer.

The USPSTF recommends women who are 50-74 years of age and are considered average risk for breast cancer should get a mammogram every two years.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a breast exam by a professional every one to three years for those 25-39 and annually for women 40 and older as part of a regular health exam.

“As with all other screening recommendations, there are specific populations who should undergo screening starting at an earlier age or using different modalities,” Tulipana says. “If you have a significant family history of breast cancer or other cancer, please talk with your doctor about the options.”

Aside from family history, risk factors for breast cancer also include obesity, postmenopausal hormone therapy, alcohol consumption, having your first child after 35 or never giving birth.

Those with higher risk factors may have a test called breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The breast MRI uses magnetics and radio waves to take photos of the breast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, so they are not used for women at average risk.



Although medical tests can be expensive, the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover a number of screening tests. This means these screenings might be performed at no cost to the patient. The USPSTF encourages individuals to check with their insurance provider about coverage.

 

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February 2019

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

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National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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View map »

More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
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Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

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Sweets & Cream will be reopening Friday, February 22 at 3PM! Come on by for a $1.99 ice cream cookie sandwich and give a small donation to the Tips for Charity effort to help support our local...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Sweets & Cream
1114 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Sponsor: Sweets & Cream
Telephone: 918-633-3182
Contact Name: Erik Collins
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5:00-6:00 Nature & Madness is the contemplative indie-folk project of Ryan Pickop. Ryan's work is rooted in Americana, rooted in the Earth. Challenging without being confrontational, we are offered...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heirloom Rustic Ales
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Heirloom Rustic Ales

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Solo performance. Originally from the OKC area, Adrienne Gilley is a vocalist, guitar player, songwriter. Drawing from co-writers and influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Tipping encouraged

Where:
The Colony
2809 S. Harvard
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sample various whiskey, have dinner and hear some fabulous music! 

Cost: 150.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Lindsey House
Telephone: 918-933-5222
Contact Name: Diana Denny
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JAKE OWEN Multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter Jake Owen’s new single “Down To The Honkytonk” is rapidly climbing the Billboard Country Airplay charts. With seven #1 songs to...

Cost: $50, $75, $100

Where:
Osage Casino
Tulsa, OK

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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
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Join us for the 59th Annual Book Fair! Saturday, February 23, 2019 8:00 am–3:00 pm Holland Hall Primary School Gym Open to the public. Tickets $1, 18 and under free. No RSVP required,...

Cost: $1

Where:
Holland Hall Primary School
5666 E. 81 St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Holland Hall
Telephone: 918-481-1111
Contact Name: Heather Brasel
Website »

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The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
Website »

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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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More information

Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
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Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

More information

34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
View map »


Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
Website »

More information

Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
Website »

More information

Youth members of the six area Boys & Girls Clubs compete for college scholarships in the Annual Youth of the Year competition. The winners are announced at this banquet. Volunteers making a...

Cost: $75

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

Cocktails, dinner and program with live and silent auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun!  New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun! New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational incarceration,...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond Event Center
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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More information

Cocktails, dinner and program;  silent and live auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
Website »

More information

Support youth leaders emerging from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa. Each candidate is competing for higher education scholarships. Our goal is for youth leader to be a winner and advance with...

Cost: $50 Individual Tickets and Sponsor Levels

Where:
Global Learning Center at ORU
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

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6-10:30 p.m. Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st Street. The 2019 Lunar New Year Gala at Southern Hills Country Club will be an elegant evening of candlelight, fine dining, children’s party...

Cost: $150, individual tickets; $1,000-$25,000, sponsorships.

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Dillon International
Telephone: 918-748-5613
Contact Name: Marcia Graham
Website »

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COOKING UP COMPASSION FACT SHEET ABOUT THE EVENT:  Long time donors Margo and Kent Dunbar are Honorary Chairs for the event. Now in its fourteenth year, Cooking Up Compassion raises funds for the...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Business Center
3rd & Houston
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Catholic Charities
Telephone: 918-508-7115
Contact Name: Jennifer Allen
Website »

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Winterset is an annual formal event of the Osteopathic Founders Foundation which brings together the osteopathic profession and their community partners to benefit projects which improve the health...

Cost: $300

Where:
Hyatt Regency Tulsa
100 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Osteopathic Founders Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-7300
Contact Name: Michele Caine
Website »

More information

Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

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TULtalk


Art film meets dance at Oklahoma Dance Film Festival

This year's program features more than 20 films from around the world, presented on Sunday at the Central Library.

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2.4: #KnopeLife — Anna America

Anna America took the helm at Tulsa’s Parks and Recreation department in the fall of 2018, but she is certainly no stranger to life in the public eye.

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7 strategies to help you make the A-LIST

The competition is tough for small businesses on our annual readers' choice survey, but a few smart strategies can help you get ahead.

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“Sunday in the Park” is no walk in the park

American Theatre Company prepares for the Oklahoma premiere of the very technically challenging “Sunday in the Park with George,” Feb. 15-24

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2.3: Get that “Woo!” — Tom Basler

A conversation with dueling piano phenom Tom Basler about his many reinventions, both personal and professional.

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