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When Was Your Last Test?


We all lead such busy lives that sometimes we overlook taking care of the more important things; our state of health, for instance. Some people feel that there is no need for medical check-ups when they feel no pain. Without subscribing to hypochondria, there are structured steps that you can take so your health is monitored and your peace of mind assured.

And if tests show cause for worry, you and your doctor would be aware of it and be ready for the next course of action. Health experts advise women to make medical tests a habit in order to detect certain illnesses like cancer. We go into detail on what's necessary and why.

Comprehensive Blood Profile

What Is It For?

To detect abnormalities of major organs in the body such as the heart, kidneys and liver. These can show the presence of diseases like diabetes.

What Does It Involve?

Blood is drawn from the patient and is tested for its blood count and its sugar and cholesterol levels.

How Often Should It Be Done?

Once a year or, if the initial test results are normal, once in two years. 

Who Should Undergo The Test?

All adult females, especially those who experience heavy periods.

Pap Smear

What Is It For?

Early detection and prevention cervical cancer.

What Does It Involve?

The procedure starts off with a vaginal examination using a speculum to expose the cervix. A mucus sample is then scraped from the cervical walls, then smeared onto a slide and sent to a laboratory to be analysed. The test can detect infection, cellular abnormality, pre-cancerous and cancerous activities. 

How Often Should It Be Done?

Pap smears should be done yearly or at least once in two years. 

Who Should Undergo The Test?

Women who are sexually active or have been sexually active in the past.

Pelvic Ultrasound

What Is It For?

Ultrasound examinations can detect fibroids that are present in about 30 percent of all women, most cases occurring without symptoms. This procedure can also detect ovarian growths. Ovarian cancers are silent, also presenting no symptoms until its late stage.

What Does It Involve?

An ultrasound machine is used to detect any growth in the uterus and ovaries. A metal scope is lubricated and slid across the abdomen. Images will appear onscreen which the doctor will translate into what is normal or otherwise. For better accuracy, sometimes vaginal scanning is required. Fibroids can be detected. These are mostly benign and can be left alone. However, ovarian growths need immediate treatment.

How Often Should It Be Done?

Once a year. 

Who Should Undergo The Test?

It's safe to say women over 35, and more so for those above 40.

Breast Examination

What Is It For?

Detection of breast cancer.

What Does It Involve?

The area around the breasts is gently massaged with hands to feel for lumps. Most lumps are benign but a few are cancerous and require urgent treatment.

How Often Should It Be Done?

As often as every week. You can do this yourself at home.

Who Should Undergo The Test?

All adult females. Note: For women over 40, a mammogram is advised once every two years. A mammogram is an X-ray procedure to detect breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast in between X-ray plates which may cause slight discomfort. Those with a strong family history of breast cancer are also advised to get a mammogram.

If You Experience Any Of The Following, Consult Your Doctor Immediately

  • Prolonged heavy vaginal discharge, a change in smell or color.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (after intercourse)
  • Prolonged, heavy and painful periods.
  • Self-detected lumps in the breast.
  • Milky watery or blood discharge from the nipples.
 

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