Why just treat a medical condition when you could prevent it from occurring in the first place? Advancements made in the field of preventative medicine have saved thousands of lives and halted the spread of disease and illness to thousands more. Although many preventative screenings are beneficial to either sex, some conditions are more common in either males or females, making it imperative that each patient’s preventative care is personalized according to sex. Women should consider receiving these four screenings and check-ups yearly to maintain their health.
Pap Smear and STI Testing
Women’s sexual health is often considered more complex than male reproductive health because the entirety of the female reproductive system is internal. Without the proper training, knowledge or tools, women may be unable to tell when something is wrong.
Unchecked cervical cancer is a notorious killer. According to the American Cancer Society, women with stage IVB cervical cancer have a mere 15% survival rate, not to mention the havoc uncontrolled cancer wreaks on fertility.1 Luckily, yearly Pap smears are extremely successful in detecting early signs of cancer, allowing more women to treat developing cancer quickly and easily. Scheduling an annual Pap smear and gynecology exam beginning at age 21 can help ensure the patient’s reproductive system is functioning properly and there are no signs of cervical cancer.
You learned it in school, and now it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. Annual sexually-transmitted infection (STI) testing can allow you to locate early symptoms of a variety of STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. Remaining aware and informed of your personal sexual health allows you to confidently inform your partners before you engage in a sexual relationship. If you’re in a stable relationship with one individual, gynecologists recommend an annual STI test. For those who have had multiple partners, STI testing is suggested every three to six months.
Breast Exam and Mammogram
The frequency of breast cancer occurrence is quickly increasing, although part of that is due to improved testing and awareness. Beginning at age 40, women should receive an annual or biennial breast examination and mammogram to detect early signs of breast cancer. Those younger than 40 should perform monthly personal breast exams at home by feeling for any abnormalities within the breast tissue. Though it’s no secret mammograms aren’t exactly fun, peace of mind in exchange for a minute or two of discomfort is more than worth it.
Medical History Physicals
All individuals, male and female alike, should be knowledgeable of their family’s medical history. Cancer, diabetes, thyroid conditions and more are commonly passed from generation to generation. Depending upon your family’s history, you should pursue annual tests and screenings for your family’s most common conditions. Consult with your physician to determine the best preventative exams for your unique case.
In addition to breast cancer, women over 30 are particularly susceptible to melanoma – a deadly skin cancer. For women who spend significant time in the sun, especially without sunscreen, full clothing or adequate shade, skin cancer is a very real threat. Dermatologists recommend a yearly skin check to find unusual moles, freckles or growths and patches of potentially cancerous cells. Early detection of cancerous areas can lead to early treatment and as little lifestyle disruption as possible.
Preventative Medical Services in Houston, Texas
Preventative medicine can help you keep your life on track by getting you the treatments you need earlier. Stay on top of your medical well-being by scheduling your most necessary exams and checkups today. Women in the Houston area can trust the medical professionals at St. Hope Foundation to offer respectful and compassionate care every step of the way. Contact us online or call 713-778-1300 to schedule your appointment today.
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