October is the national Breast Cancer Awareness month, and for you ladies living in the…
5 Health Screenings Women Shouldn’t Miss
Being proactive about your health really matters! What may sometimes seem as an added burden or appointment, can truly help you detect and maintain your overall health as best as possible. So, where to begin? Well- as always, you should consult your physician about what screenings would be best tailored for your lifestyle and health history- but if we had to recommend say… five-these common screenings should be making their way onto your calendar in the coming months.
1. Clinical Breast Exam/Mammograms
A clinical breast exam is a simple physical exam performed by a trained health professional to identify changes and abnormalities in the breast. Susan G. Komen for the Cure recommends that all women, beginning at age 20, should get a CBE every three years, then every year after age 40. Women should make this part of their yearly physical. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute all recommend that beginning at age 40, all women “of average risk” should get a mammogram every one to two years. Some women with a family history of cancer and increased risk for developing breast cancer might need to start even earlier. You should speak with their doctor or health care provider about your risk, and when and what screening is best for them.
2. Blood Pressure Test
Starting at age 18, every woman needs her blood pressure checked every two years. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often called the “silent killer,” because if unchecked, it can lead to heart attack and stroke. Ideal blood pressure for women is less than 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). You should have your blood pressure checked as part of a yearly physical. You can also monitor your blood pressure away from the doctor’s office, too. Many pharmacies and grocery stores now have blood pressure monitoring machines, as well as local screenings.
3. Skin Cancer Screening
Skin cancer is actually the most common of all cancer types and is on the rise. According to the American Cancer Society, more than two million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States, which is more than prostate, breast, lung, colon, uterine, ovarian and pancreatic cancers combined! As part of your routine physical each year, your doctor should perform a skin examination to identify any abnormal moles or growths. In addition, you are your biggest ally when it comes to skin cancer prevention. Routinely check your skin (everywhere on your body — including your scalp!).
4. Pelvic Exam
A pelvic exam should be part of a woman’s yearly physical and will help your medical provider evaluate the size of your vagina, uterus, cervix and ovaries, as well as help detect abnormalities, sexually transmitted diseases or cancer. A pap test is usually conducted as part of this and provides a small sample of cells from the surface of your cervix. Pap tests should begin within three years after becoming sexually active or at 21 years of age, whichever happens first. If a woman has had three consecutive negative pap tests within a five-year period, she may get screened every three years. Women who have a family history of cancer, who have been diagnosed with HPV or who are increased risk for developing cervical cancer, should follow their doctor’s advice about checkups.
5.Dental Exams and Teeth Cleanings
Taking care of your teeth and gums does not just improve your smile: It may also decrease your chances of developing certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease. Bacteria left on your teeth and gums increases plaque buildup in your arteries and inflammation, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Regular teeth cleaning can help to reduce the bacteria and plaque buildup and prevent harmful bacteria from entering your bloodstream. Regular checkups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. Regular dental checkups can help ensure that early signs of oral and throat cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified early.
(tips adapted via)