Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Screening Procedures To Schedule At Your Women's Health Center

by Stephen Silva

A well woman exam typically includes generalized checkup procedures such as checking your blood pressure and temperature, as well as more specific procedures such as a pap smear and breast exam. But if you have specific risk factors such as strong family history of a specific gynecological problem, your doctor may recommend targeted screening procedures as well.

Here are a few examples of screening procedures you could schedule at your center for woman health services if recommended by your doctor.

1. CA-125 blood test

A test that checks the level of CA-125 in your blood can be used to help diagnose or rule out health conditions such as ovarian cancer. Your doctor may recommend using this blood test for screening if you have specific risk factors, such as a family history of ovarian cancer.

However, keep in mind this test doesn't diagnose ovarian cancer. Other types of health conditions that can cause a heightened level of CA-125 in the blood include things like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

2. Mammogram

A mammogram is one of the commonly used ways to screen for breast cancer. But what you may not realize is that reading the imaging from the mammogram procedure isn't an exact science. So you don't just need to get a mammogram if you suspect something is wrong; instead, doctors recommend getting them on a regular basis so each time the results can be compared to the previous results.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about when you should start having regular mammograms. If you have no family history of cancer, your doctor may recommend starting at age 40 or so. If you do have a family history of breast cancer or similar risk factors, your doctor may recommend starting annual mammograms earlier.

3. Ultrasound

You may think of an ultrasound as something that's used only during pregnancy. But in fact, an ultrasound can provide a very useful view of organs such as the uterus and ovaries. Several conditions such as uterine polyps, PCOS, and endometriosis can cause irregularities to show up on the ultrasound.

Your doctor can use the ultrasound to help diagnose or rule out health conditions, helping to target the correct issues and get a better overall picture of your health. In addition, measuring the size of any irregularities like polyps or cysts that show up on the ultrasound can help your doctor decide on the best way to treat them. 

These are some of the procedures you and your doctor can use for preventive healthcare, along with your yearly well woman exam. The additional tests and imaging procedures can help your doctor monitor your health closely so you're less likely to experience any unpleasant surprises regarding health conditions. Get in touch with a local women's health center today to learn more.