Routine screenings can be life saving for many women since the early detection of some diseases can lead to better outcomes. Here are some important screenings you should consider for your routine visit.
A healthy lifestyle can make you feel better. This feeling is actually a good thing but what if you were told that visiting a doctor should be a habit regardless of how you feel. We’ve all heard stories of how simple routine screenings have saved lives where being late by a few months could have led to a different outcome. These yearly visits are otherwise known as well-woman exams.
Knowing what screenings you should take on your well-woman exam is the next step to empowering yourself and taking control of your health after a healthy lifestyle! Here are some screenings you shouldn’t overlook on your well-woman exam.
Pap smears test for cervical cancer which is the fourth most common cancer for women worldwide. The good news is that it’s often curable if detected at an early stage. The test includes taking a sample from the cervix and checking for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells.
When should I get tested?
Women should start getting tested after age 21 once every three years. After crossing the 30 year mark, most doctors recommend doing one of the following:
- A pap smear once every three years
- An HPV test once every five years
- A HPV test along with a pap smear once every five years
If you’re over 65 and have never had a positive pap result then your doctor may allow you to stop taking pap screenings.
Breast cancer is feared by many women. Some even go as far as delaying breast exams and mammograms out of fear of being diagnosed with it! However, that’s not the best way to deal with it. Sure, no one wants to be diagnosed with breast cancer but ignoring these screenings only makes matters worse. An early diagnosis means better chances of curing it.
When should I be tested?
Women should start yearly mammogram screening after age 40 while younger women aren’t advised to screen unless they have factors that put them at a greater risk of getting breast cancer.
Regardless of your age group, you should always see a doctor if you notice a lump, abnormal nipple discharge or any abnormality.
This one is easier to do as most of the time all you’ll need for skin examination is a sharp eye. Look for new moles or changes to existing ones on your skin as these might indicate early signs of skin cancer. You should make this one a monthly habit, always keep an eye for any skin changes. Your doctor may also help you decide whether you need an in-office exam every once in a while.
Other screenings you should consider
We’ve mentioned some screenings you shouldn’t overlook but here are some screenings you should consider on your well-woman exam depending on your risk factors and age group:
- Blood pressure screening
- Diabetes or blood glucose test
- Lipid profile / cholesterol levels
- Bone density screening
- Colorectal cancer screening
Your doctor can help you decide which tests you should take regularly depending on your risk factors.