Well Woman Exams
Why is a well-woman exam important?
Even though many women think of their annual visit to the gynecologist is mostly about getting a Pap smear, that cancer-screening test is just one of the multitude of preventive services included in a well-woman visit.
Your well-woman exam gives your practitioner a chance to evaluate your overall health and to talk about lifestyle habits that can affect your wellness. During your visit, you can discuss:
Abnormal uterine bleeding
Sexually transmitted diseases
Your practitioner also discusses safer sexual practices to protect against STDs and recommends STD testing when appropriate. They generally recommend vaccination to protect you against cervical cancer if you’re under age 26.
What if cancer runs in my family?
Cancer may result from a combination of heredity and environmental factors, such as your diet, environmental toxins, or chronic stress. The team at Artemis Advanced Office Gynecology offers counseling and testing to help you understand your cancer risk.
If you have a higher-than-normal risk of certain cancers, Artemis Advanced Office Gynecology offers gene testing with a simple saliva test during your well-woman exam. The practice also provides a computer model that analyzes both your family history and factors in your personal history, then estimates your lifetime risk of breast cancer.
This knowledge can not only help you make the right decision for your lasting health but also may make you eligible for increased screening. For example, women with a greater than 20% lifetime risk of breast cancer may qualify for insurance coverage of annual breast MRIs and twice-yearly clinical breast exams.
Take charge of your health today. Call Artemis Advanced Office Gynecology to schedule your well-woman exam or request an appointment online.
What Happens During my Well Woman Exam?
You can expect your practitioner to review your health history, ask you questions about your current health, and answer your questions about your physical and mental well-being.
Next, they perform a physical exam, including a breast exam and a full pelvic exam. These exams look for early signs of breast and gynecologic cancers. You’ll then have a Pap smear to look for changes that may indicate cervical cancer or another type of cancer.
Your practitioner asks about your family history of cancer to determine whether to recommend testing for hereditary breast cancer, or genetic mutations that may increase your risk for:
If you’re over age 40, your practitioner suggests a colorectal cancer screening with a digital exam and testing for hidden blood in your stool. If you’re over age 50, Artemis Advanced Office Gynecology offers colonoscopy referrals. The team also provides bone density screening, which can catch osteoporosis early and help prevent bone loss.