Beyond The Pap Smear
Australian women must get other health checks besides a pelvic exam and Pap test to ensure continued health. Call your general practitioner to schedule these exams today
We all know the Australian sun is hot, and the hole in the ozone appearing from September to December makes the risk of developing skin cancer even higher. Because of this, Australian health experts recommend women get full body skin check every six months. You're also advised to conduct self-exams every three months.
Cardiovascular disease screening
Women aged 18 to 50 with moderate risk factors should start getting screened annually for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to the Australian National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance. The screening will include cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests and blood pressure, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) measurements.
Adults over age 18 should get BMI and waist circumference measurements if at risk for obesity, says the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Those identified as overweight or obese could do with these checks every six months.
Oral exam for oral cancer
You should already be going to the dentist each year for an oral exam and cleaning. The next time you're in the chair, ask your doctor to also screen you for oral cancer. This type of cancer is rising among women, with incidence rates having jumped from six men for every woman to two men to each woman over the past 10 years.
Risk factors include smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol, but increasingly, doctors are attributing oral cancer cases to HPV, or the human papillomavirus, which can infect the mouth via oral sex.
Eye exam and vision screening
Regular eye exams are crucial as you age, especially since women are at a bit of a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common eye health problems. A vision screening tests how well you can see, while an eye exam checks for glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinopathy and other eye diseases.