Early detection and screening tests are an important part of ensuring the good health of our patients.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Your doctor may perform a Pap smear or Pap test, which collects cells from the cervix to screen for any changes that may lead to cervical cancer. Women aged 21 and over should have a routine Pap test every three years. Women who have abnormal Pap test results may need to be screened more often. Your physician will advise you on the testing schedule that is right for you.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, combining a Pap test with a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test can extend the interval between cervical cancer screenings from three years to five years in many women between the ages of 30-65. Talk to your doctor for more information on screening recommendations for cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a wealth of information on the Pap smear and screening for cervical cancer.
Breast Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society has established specific screening guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer:
- Annual mammograms are recommended starting at age 40.
- Clinical breast exams (CBE) should be performed by your physician about every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
- Women should start performing breast self-exams (BSE) in their 20s to help familiarize themselves with their breasts so that they can note any change that may feel abnormal and report this change to their doctor.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons recommends women 25 and over should receive formal risk assessment for breast cancer.
- Women with an average risk of breast cancer should initiate yearly screening mammography at age 40.
- Women with a higher than average risk of breast cancer should undergo yearly screening mammography and be offered yearly supplemental imaging, initiated at a risk based age.
To obtain a high-risk breast cancer assessment, complete the GBMC High-Risk Brest Cancer Assessment form. After completing the form, a member of the breast center will contact you to discuss your results.
Colon Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society recommends screening people at average risk for colon cancer starting at age 45.
- Stool based tests may be performed annually.
- Visual assessment of the colon may be performed with colonoscopy every 10 years.
The decrease in estrogen and changes to your body's chemistry after menopause can leave women susceptible to increased bone loss, which leads to osteoporosis, or brittle, porous bones. Women with osteoporosis are more prone to bone fractures and breaks.
Capital Women's Care - Division 56/Charles St. OB/GYN can refer patients for screening for a bone density called the DEXA scan. Certain medications and calcium supplements may help slow bone loss. Talk to your doctor for more information.