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Ask Dr. Nandi: Health screenings every woman needs

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 18:01:50-05

(WXYZ) — We know that health screenings can save lives, but in today’s busy world, we don’t always make them a priority. And that’s especially true for women who often put other’s needs first.

But it’s important to make time for screenings, even when you’re feeling perfectly fine.

The exams women get depends on a few things like how old you are, what your family history is, and if you have any current health issues.

But generally speaking, starting at age 18, women should check their skin for suspicious moles on a monthly basis. The goal is to catch potential skin cancer in its early stages.

Next, all women aged 21 to 65 should have Pap and HPV screenings. I know a lot of women dread this test, but please don’t put it off. It checks for the human papillomavirus and cervical cancer.

Also, all women who are sexually active should be checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Because certain ones can be dangerous if not treated and many of them don’t show symptoms.

Another important screening test is mammograms, these look for breast cancer. Typically you get your first one at age 40 and have follow-ups after that.

Also, women need a colonoscopy between the age of 45 and 50. This test I am very passionate about because Colorectal cancer is often a silent disease. And this test can find polyps and remove them in the early stages before they become cancerous.

And lastly, get regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, and these two factors can put them at a significantly higher risk.

The foundation of good health is what I always talk about. Eat healthily, get exercise, don’t smoke, and take care of stress and your mental health.

But I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having regular health screenings. The reason why they exist is to detect potential problems. And if a health condition or disease is caught early, you’re much more likely to have a better outcome.