Every year, cancer affects millions of people, many of whom are women. Women are also highly susceptible to various gender-specific cancers, from breast cancer to cervical and ovarian cancer. On top of that, access to proper healthcare in some regions is deficient. These statistics and the level of care available highlight the urgent need for women to be proactive about their health, mainly through regular cancer screenings and tests.
Cancer is devastating, but it always starts small. A lump here, some pain there — usually, symptoms tell you when something’s wrong with you. While some signs could be linked to other concerns, it is still necessary to get screened regularly, even without any warnings. Cancer screenings like mammograms and pap smears are designed to detect abnormalities in their very early stages, even before symptoms manifest.
Now, early detection offers you two key advantages. For one, it enables medical professionals to treat your cancer more effectively, and two, it increases the likelihood of successful treatment outcomes, allowing you to lead a healthy, fruitful life. You can attend different screenings regularly, but here are a few non-negotiables.
Mammograms are X-ray examinations of the breasts, essential for identifying tumors and breast cancer in its earliest stages. With a mammogram, your doctor can provide valuable information on whether and when you need treatment.
Now, mammograms can be scheduled differently for women in different age groups and risk brackets. For women with no family history of breast cancer and no personal experience with chest radiation therapy, yearly mammograms may be required. However, regardless of your age or predisposition, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your concerns and work up a personalized screening schedule.
Cervical cancer, primarily caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, used to be a leading cause of death for women. But thanks to the widespread use of pap smears and the HPV vaccine, these statistics have reduced drastically. A pap smear is a screening test involving collecting cells from the cervix to check for abnormalities. Routine pap smears are recommended for women starting at age 21, but the frequency of the smears can vary based on age and risk factors.
Need to talk to a doctor about getting a pap smear? Lets help you get started at Oncopadi.
For ovarian cancer, specific screening methods can aid in its detection. Some of these include transvaginal ultrasounds and blood tests. The risks of developing this not-so-silent killer are even higher for women with a family history of ovarian cancer or who were born with specific genetic mutations. Like every other screening method, discussing appropriate strategies with your healthcare provider for a personalized screening schedule is essential.
Despite the proven benefits of regular cancer screenings, many women find it hard to access these methods. The barriers responsible include a lack of awareness and education, financial constraints, cultural beliefs, or even a fear of medical procedures (pap smear, guilty). It is, therefore, important that women are equipped with information about the risks of skipping cancer screenings from their healthcare providers.
You are also encouraged to have open conversations about your health, share your concerns, and seek advice from medical professionals because your health should never be tied down by stigma or miseducation.
By detecting cancer in its earliest stages, regular cancer screenings give women the knowledge and advantage to take control of their health. From pap smears to mammograms, it’s time to prioritize regular cancer screenings, for early detection truly does save lives.
Have any questions about cancer screening? Please drop them in the comment section. You can also have a quick chat with an Oncologist or Use the OncoScreen tool to find out the right cancer screening tests for you.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Oncopadi in partnership with Pearl Oncology is gearing up for active participation. We are excited to announce the launch of our campaign, “Barbie Way.” Let’s unite in the fight against breast cancer and show our support by going pink!