GYNECOLOGY Q & A
What happens during a gynecology exam?
Having routine gynecological exams is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your health throughout every stage of your life. Exams include some of the same steps as a routine physical exam, including a measurement of blood pressure and weight, as well as exams and evaluations based specifically on women's health needs and health risks. Depending on how long it's been since your last exam, your age and other factors, your exam may include a Pap test or HPV test to look for abnormal cells in your vaginal canal and service that could indicate an increased risk for cancer or genital warts. You'll also have a clinical breast exam. Finally, you'll receive guidance about issues that are important to you, including family planning, birth control, sexually-transmitted diseases and menopause.
How often do I need to have a Pap test?
You should have a Pap test every three years if you're between the ages of 21 and 64. Or, between the ages of 30 and 64, you might opt to have both a Pap test and HPV test every five years. Once you reach age 65 and depending on your personal medical history, you may no longer need to have Pap tests performed.
Do I need to have a mammogram even if there's no history of breast cancer in my family?
Yes. Many women with no history of breast cancer go on to develop the disease, and having regular mammograms is the best way to identify the disease in its earliest and most treatable stages. The American Cancer Society recommends mammograms every year from ages 45 to 54. Women 55 years of age and older may have an exam every two years, or annually if they prefer. Women who are at an increased risk for breast cancer may need to have mammograms performed more often.
*Individual results may vary