Are you a woman with a busy schedule?
As chief caretaker, taxi driver, scheduler and employee, it can be difficult to carve out time for yourself. This month is Women's Health Month, and the Abramson Cancer Center wants to remind you to schedule some time to keep yourself healthy.
Schedule a Mammogram
The mammogram is still the most important screening test in detecting breast cancer, and is thought to save thousands of lives a year. Beginning at 40, women should have mammograms annually – depending on the woman's heredity and risks, her physician may suggest starting annual screenings even earlier than 40.
Know Your Risk for Ovarian Cancer
With 1 in 57 women in the United States developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime, it is the deadliest cancer in women and the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.
The risk of developing ovarian and other certain types of cancer is greatly increased for women and men with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. Through expert genetic counseling, education, and long term care at the Mariann and Robert MacDonald Cancer Risk Evaluation Center, men and women can learn if they have a mutation putting them at greater risk.
For women and men with a BRCA gene mutation, the Basser Research Center for BRCA can help them learn more about their risk, and ways in which they can prevent cancer.
Consider the HPV Vaccine for Your Daughters (and Sons)
Genital human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, and can cause cervical cancer – the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world.
Both forms of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil and Cervarix, are approved for girls and boys between the ages of 9 to 26, and is given in a three-dose series over the course of eight months. The vaccine does not cure a current HPV infection, therefore it should be administered before the girl or boy is sexually active.
Screen for Cancer
The best defense against cancer is often times detecting the disease in its earliest stages, before symptoms are present. Some of the cancer screening tests we recommend are:
Cervical cancer screenings no later than 21-years-old, or three years after becoming sexually active.
- Pap tests should be done:
- Every 1-2 years for women under 30
- Every 2-3 years for women ages 30-70, if they have three normal test results in a row
- Women over 70 who have had three or more normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal results in the last 10 years may choose to stop having Pap tests.
- Clinical breast exams every three years for women in their 20s and 30s
- Yearly mammograms for women beginning at age 40
- At age 50, follow a testing schedule for polyps and cancer
How do you stay healthy? Are you up to date on your screenings and exams?