The Annual Appointment...Do I Really Need One?
While it's probably not on the list of your favorite activities, there is a lot to be said for the annual visit. Not only does it provide you with vital basic women's health screenings, it also gives you the opportunity to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have or health changes you might be noticing. Each of our physicians puts the comfort and dignity of our patients first, and the peace of mind you get knowing that you have taken steps to ensure your optimal well-being will most likely outweigh any temporary reluctance you feel about coming in for the exam.
The Pap Test
The "Pap Test," a painless swab of the cervix which is probably the most well-known aspect of the annual visit, is performed during the pelvic exam. This test checks for changes in the cervical cells. These changes, if not investigated and addressed, could be precursors to cervical cancer. Early detection dramatically improves your chances of avoiding and/or resolving this unwanted diagnosis.
Another important part of your visit is the breast exam.
If you are over forty or have a personal or family history of breast cancer, your doctor will probably order a mammogram to be performed later at a separate facility. This painless x-ray is considered by your physician and by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to be your first line of defense in detecting breast cancer.
Women who are over 21 years of age (or younger, if they are sexually active,) are encouraged to have annual exams. The frequency with which you need a Pap test may vary, depending on your age and medical history, but even if you are post-menopausal or have had a hysterectomy it is strongly recommended that you have an annual exam.
If you've been putting off getting your annual exam, now is the time to call and schedule. Our physicians and staff are here for the express purpose of pursuing your best health. Be the most important member of your own health-care team--schedule your annual appointment today.