Six Screening Tests a Woman Should Schedule
Know your body - know yourself should be a mantra that every woman follows. In these times of financial crunch, don't let your health slide. Screening tests help to catch disease early, so be aware of what and when you need to screen:
- (1) Skin check for melanoma - You should be doing your own monthly skin checks (have a family member or friend check your back) but certainly a head to toe check by a dermatologist should be done yearly. That includes your scalp.
- (2) PAP test - for cervical cancer and at the same time the doctor will do a breast exam and check your weight and blood pressure.
- (3) Mammogram - annually after age 40; earlier if there is a strong history of breast cancer. You might also be asked to have a breast ultrasound or MRI depending on breast tissue density, family history of breast cancer or prior breast cancer.
- (4) Colonoscopy - starting at age 50, unless there is strong family history in which case starting at age 40. You now have an option to have a virtual colonoscopy (you actually swallow a large pill that contains a tiny camera) or standard colonoscopy. Both require the same clean out prep.
- (5) Neck check - for thyroid dysfunction or even thyroid cancer. Many women will notice symptoms of an under-active (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Fullness in the neck is an observation that you can see yourself. You can also check for enlarged or painful lymph nodes in the neck.
- (6) Ovarian Cancer check up - there is a screening blood test, CA-125, or a pelvic ultrasound may be recommended. Women who have a strong family history for breast and/or ovarian cancer should talk to their Ob/GYN regarding this test.
Published On: October 06, 2008