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7 screening tests that every woman needs

Last updated on: July 1, 2011 16:58 IST

7 screening tests that every woman needs

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LifeMojo.com

Women form the backbone of a family. They are responsible for shaping the culture of the home. They are the ones who stand as the personification of love, care, bonding and sacrifice in front of the remaining family members.

Their contribution is immense and you cannot build a family without them! They are the carriers of generations! But who is responsible for ensuring their well-being? Who will guide them to allow them to take care of their own health as well?

Well, women today are smart and confident enough to take these responsibilities on their own shoulders rather than waiting for someone else to take that charge. They know the importance of screening and prevention and here are the common screening tests that they are undergoing:

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LifeMojo is one of the most trusted source of information about good health and wellness. To those who want to manage their health themselves, LifeMojo provides necessary information, tips, tracking tools and support to help them stay informed and motivated.


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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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1. Mammograms

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women worldwide. Breast examinations should be started at the age of 20. Every woman, 20 or above, should undergo breast cancer screening after every three years while the American Cancer Society recommends women aged 40 or above to undergo this screening every year.

Blood estradiol levels should also be checked. An increased level of estradiol is linked with breast or endometrial cancer. Mammograms and a thorough breast examination by a medical professional help to control the disease at the very onset.

Doctors also suggest women to perform a monthly self breast examination.

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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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2. Pap tests

Regular Pap tests should be started at the age of 21 or within the first three years of becoming sexually active. The Pap test screens only for cervical cancer. It cannot be used for screening of ovarian, uterine, vaginal or vulvar cancers.

HPV test may also be used to screen the cancer but mostly for women aged 30 years and older or women of any age whose Pap test results are not clear. Screening is very effective in preventing or finding the cancer at an early stage.

Early detection may prevent surgeries or may involve minor ones.

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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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3. Colonoscopy

Colon cancer also happens to be a leading cause of death in women alongside breast cancer and cervical cancer.

The cancer starts with the growth of colon polyps. After it develops, it can spread to the other organs. Earlier, sigmoidoscopy was prescribed by the doctors. But this examination can only reveal conditions at the lower part of the colon.

Later, colonoscopy, that covers whole colon, has come to be recommended. Screening is advised for women aged 50 years or above.

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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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4. Bone density examination

Women are prone to osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become weak and fragile. Postmenopausal women are more susceptible to it.

Middle-aged women above 50 years of age or older or those who have already gone through the menopausal phase, may be recommended for the screening of bone density.

X-ray or DEXA (Dual energy X-ray Absorptiometry) can measure the bone mineral density. Low levels of estradiol is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture.

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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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5. Blood pressure checkups

How often the blood pressure should be measured depends on what risk factors you have. For example, a family history of high blood pressure may make you to opt for frequent blood pressure checkups.

Starting at the age of 18, every woman should have her blood pressure checked after every two years.

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7 screening tests that every woman needs

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6. Blood tests for checking cholesterol levels

All women should get their cholesterol checked after every four to five years after attaining the age of 20. It is one of the factors responsible for causing heart diseases.

It is tested by using your blood sample. The doctors will provide you levels of total cholesterol, HDL ("good" cholesterol), LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides.

Elevated serum cholesterol and LDL is associated with the increased risk of atherosclerosis (the collection of fatty materials along the arterial walls).

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7. Skin examination

Some people are genetically predisposed to skin cancers. Over-exposure to the sun can raise the risk of skin cancer to a greater extent. A dermatologist should conduct the skin examination during a routine check-up.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends regular skin self examinations for any changes.

Women also need to undergo other screening tests to rule out diabetes, STDs, HIV, thyroid problems, ovarian cancer and glaucoma. You may pretend to be very "daring" while refusing a request to undergo these tests.

It is not your daring attitude, but your inner fears which are actually trying to pull you back. Come out of your shyness and your shell of inhibitions and you will come to see the good side of cure!


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