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Women Health Month Series: Insights from an OB-GYN - IndiaBlogger.in

In recognition of Women’s Health Month during the month of May, we’re highlighting important women’s health insights from practitioners of various specialties. Lisbeth Chang, MD, an OB-GYN with Dignity Health Medical Group – Northridge, shares important insights on preventive screening and OB-GYN care.

Dr. Lisbeth ChangWhy are regular OB-GYN visits important?

Dr. Lisbeth Chang: The American College of OBGYNs recommends that women see their gynecologist at least once a year. This regular visit is a good time for you and your doctor to discuss common concerns, including pain during sex, pelvic pain, or unusual bleeding. Your annual appointment is also a good time to make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccines, and screen for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and cancer. You can talk to your doctor about whether you need a breast or pelvic exam.

Why and how often do women need separate preventive checkups?

Dr. Lisbeth Chang: Cervical cancer and breast cancer affect hundreds of thousands of American women each year. Preventive screening can save lives, so it is important that you stay up-to-date with your tests and visits to your doctor.

Two types of tests are important in cervical cancer screening:

  • a Papanicolaou test (or Pap test/smear) looks for precancerous or cell changes on the cervix that can become cervical cancer if not treated in time
  • an hpv test Detects the virus that causes these cell changes

Recommended Cervical Cancer Screening Age (from the American College of OB-GYNs)

  • 21 – 29 years old – Pap test should be done every three years. HPV testing may also be considered for women in this age range, but the Pap test is usually preferred.
  • 30 – 65 years of age – either a Pap test and HPV test every five years, or a Pap test alone every three years, or an HPV test alone every five years
  • 65 years and older – Cervical cancer screening is no longer necessary for people in this age group who have never had abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer, and have had two to three consecutive negative screening tests depending on the type of test Huh.

While these guidelines are a useful reference for knowing how to schedule screening, there are exceptions to these rules. People who have a history of cervical cancer, are HIV positive, have a weakened immune system, were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth, or have had a hysterectomy, may get more or less screening depending on your individual health needs may be required. Talk to your doctor to determine the best screening plan to meet your individual needs.

Recommended Breast Cancer Screening Age (from the American College of OB-GYNs)

For women who do not have a personal or family history of breast cancer and who do not have symptoms, mammogram screening should begin at age 35 and continue until at least age 75. The recommended breast cancer screening timeline is as follows:

  • 35 – 39 years old – should have a clinical breast test every one to three years
  • 40 years and older—must have a clinical breast exam every year
  • Not after 50 years — annual mammograms should start

What can be some of the reasons for delay in women’s care?

Dr. Lisbeth Chang: Unfortunately, there are many reasons women may delay their care.

One common reason is that they feeling good. It is important to realize that check-ups and screenings can identify potential issues and the earlier issues are identified, the easier it is to treat them. Often, when cervical cancer and breast cancer are detected, it occurs without any noticeable symptoms.

Occasionally, those who may become pregnant and who are pregnant Delay in taking care of them. Prenatal care is incredibly important in helping to keep mom and baby safe and healthy during pregnancy. Getting regular checkups with your doctor ensures that potential issues are addressed quickly.

Sometimes care is delayed insurance or financial concerns, What many people don’t realize is that insurance will often cover preventive care and pregnancy visits. If you have questions about your insurance coverage, your insurance provider or doctor’s office can help answer your questions about your coverage.

Staying on top of OB-GYN visits and screenings can save your life. Contact your primary care physician or OB-GYN to discuss and schedule an annual screening, or consult our “Find a Doctor” tool to find a Dignity Health Medical Group doctor near you.

For more information on Women’s Health Month throughout the month of May, keep checking out the Dignity Health Medical Group’s blog.

Learn more about Lisbeth Chang, MD

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