Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona talks importance of medical screenings for women

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Dr. Daniel Aspery, Medical Director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, tells us there are many different medical tests and checkups that women should have as they age.  It can be difficult to keep track of these tests and checkups, so he has outlined some of the basics. It is important to remember that professional organizations have developed these recommendations and that you should always discuss with your primary care provider the exact tests and the timing that is right for you.  A detailed list of recommendations can also be found at www.uspreventiveservicetaskfoce.org  and at www.cancer.org.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Beginning at age 21, or earlier if sexually active, through age 65, women should have regular pap smears, every 1-3 years. This test is critical in detecting cervical cells that are cancerous or have the potential of turning into cervical cancer.
Breast Cancer Screening
Women between the ages of 20 and 39 years of age should undergo clinical breast examinations every three years and then annually beginning at 40 years of age.  Mammography should begin at age 40 years in average risk women and be performed every 1-2 years.  Mammography should be continued to age 74, however, there is no definite upper age at which mammography should be discontinued.
Colon Cancer Screening
Women who are between 50 and 75 years of age should be screened for colorectal cancer using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, or colonoscopy.  Family history of colon cancer, especially at an early age, should prompt discussion about screening at age 40, or sometimes as early as 35 years of age. Your primary care physician will be able to help you decide which method of screening is best for you and how often the screening should be performed.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Women aged 18 years and older should be screened for the presence of high blood pressure.
High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)
Women 20 years of age and older who are at increased risk for coronary disease should be screened for high cholesterol.  Family history of early cardiovascular disease is another reason for screening for this disease. Screening may be performed every 1-5 years depending upon your personal medical and family history.
Osteoporosis Screening
Women who are 65 years or older, or younger women whose risk of fracture is that of a 65 year old, should be screened for osteoporosis, a loss of bone mass.  Loss of bone mass can lead to an increased risk of fractures of the spine, hip, wrists, and other bones even when there is no trauma involved.
*This is not a medical recommendation, anyone with concerns or questions about their health should contact their physician. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

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