Author: Moira O’Riordan, MD
It can be easy for women to put their own health on the back burner, prioritizing their kid’s doctor’s appointments and taking care of their partners. Women’s Health Week is a great time to remind women that their health is important – and scheduling annual appointments is crucial.
Here are three yearly appointments every woman should prioritize. Try to schedule them around the same time each year so it’s a no-brainer. I schedule my appointments during tax month – that’s how I remember. Find a time of year that works for you and make it an annual routine.
Schedule an annual physical with a primary care physician.
Every woman needs to have a primary care doctor. One leading cause of death in women is heart disease – having a doctor who you see regularly, who knows your family history, and who you feel comfortable around could help to minimize your risk.
Many people put off annual checkups during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now is the time to get an appointment on the calendar.
Schedule an annual checkup with your OB/GYN.
Women of every age should be seeing a gynecologist every year. There are certain cancers like cervical and ovarian cancer that are difficult to diagnose as there are not screening tests for them. Seeing your doctor on a regular basis and developing an understanding of what is normal/not normal for your body is essential so you can both determine when you’re experiencing an unusual symptom.
Get a screening mammogram.
I know that scheduling a mammogram can be intimidating. I’m the co-director of the Stamford Health Breast Center and even I put off scheduling my own mammogram. It’s crucial: 1 in 8 women get breast cancer, and when it’s caught early, it’s curable. If you wait until you experience signs or symptoms of breast cancer, the cure rate goes down.
Get an annual mammogram. You don’t need an order from your doctor. Start at age 40 and get one every year. If you’re really dreading it, have a friend make an appointment at the same time and do something fun afterward.
In addition to scheduling the following appointments each year, now is great time to discuss your health history with your family. It can be a difficult topic to broach, but if you’re spending time with your family on Mother’s Day or another upcoming holiday this summer, try to start a discussion.
About the Author
Moira O’Riordan, MD, is the director of Woman’s Imaging and co-director of the Stamford Health Breast Center.
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