Whether you’re a mom who puts her children first or running hard in a career (often, both), make a decision to put your health on your calendar. Listen to your body’s signals and don’t miss out on your check-ups. Further, tailor your check-ups to reflect who you are.

Plan your check-ups

According to Harvard Health, screening tests are designed to detect disease in otherwise healthy people but the experts can disagree on when to have the screening tests done and how often they should be performed.

A visit to your GP can help you to map your check-up programme. For example, bone density might be tested once at age 65 or older whereas a Pap test is recommended every three years for women in the age category 21-65.

Your GP can tailor a check-up plan for you.

Basic screenings and tests

A screening at your GP’s rooms or the pharmacy clinic can help you with some basic but essential tests and screenings such as:

  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Sugar levels and
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

The following tests or screenings may be appropriate for you, based on your GP’s recommendations:

  • Blood pressure
  • Bone density
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Diabetes screening
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Lipid profile
  • Lung cancer
  • Sexually transmitted infections.

When you visit your GP, take your check-up “list” with you and ask him or her about these tests.

Top two cancers affecting women

According to CANSA (The Cancer Association of South Africa), approximately 19.4 million South African women aged 15 years and older live at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer which, with cervical cancer, is the cancer which affects South African women the most.

CANSA notes that breast cancer symptoms do not always present until the cancer has spread so monthly breast self-examinations and annual check-ups can help with early detection. Regarding cervical cancer, a Pap smear test – which can be uncomfortable but is painless – can detect cervical cancer and also lower the risk of cervical cancer.

Top 3 take-outs for Women’s Health Month

  • Ask your GP to tailor a check-up plan just for you.
  • Make your check-up date immovable
  • Listen to your body and self-examine (i.e. breasts) regularly.

Lastly, make every day your day!

References:
https://www.cansa.org.za/embracing-responsibility-for-womens-health/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/screening-tests-for-women
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/4-important-blood-tests-for-women-and-what-the-results-mean