To Schedule an Appointment,Call 605-353-7660
Regular Exams and Screenings Key to Detecting Women’s Cancer Early
May 25, 2023
Regular wellness visits may seem like a burden to women when everything seems normal, however, regular screenings can add years to one’s life. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), one in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime and over 114,000 women in the United States were diagnosed with cancers of the reproductive organs in 2020. Regular women’s health exams and screenings are of paramount importance for maintaining overall well-being and detecting cancers early.
Family nurse practitioner and women’s health provider at the HRMC Physicians Clinic, Rebekah Storm, DNP, encourages all women to get screened regularly and schedule a wellness exam once per year, “All adult females should be having an annual exam, which includes a pelvic exam, skin cancer exam, blood pressure check and potentially cholesterol and glucose checks. It’s also important to have conversations with your provider about regular screenings such as mammograms, bone density checks and colonoscopies.”
Typically, colonoscopies are recommended at age 45 and bone density testing is recommended for women over 65. The ACS recommends women of average risk for breast cancer begin getting yearly screening mammograms at age 40. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend pap smear screenings every three years for women ages 21-29 and pap smear with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) after age 30. Women who have a personal or family history of any cancers, should talk with their doctor about earlier screenings.
Storm also encourages women to avoid misconceptions and have an awareness of their normal health, “Many women think that a pap smear every three years is sufficient, but the pap smear actually only checks for cervical cancer, so it’s very important to ensure you have a pelvic exam each year. Being aware of what is normal for you is also a great way to manage your health, so you can identify when something is abnormal.” She continued, “Be proactive and don’t delay in contacting your provider is something seems amiss. Nothing surprises us – from mental health, fatigue, weight concerns, menstrual health, menopause, sexual health and hormones, we want to hear what might be concerning you.”
Cutline: Rebekah Storm, DNP, women’s and family health practitioner, HRMC Physicians Clinic