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If Your Doctor Doesn’t Ask, You Should

Filed Under: Women's Health at 8:31 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Gynecological ExamYou don’t look forward to your annual gynecological appointment. Who would? Nothing about the visit, aside from your departure, can be considered fun. But you go anyway. You resign yourself to the instruments, the stirrups, the trauma of it all, and you go, because you know it’s what you need to do if you want to retain health. The same (the need and impending discomfort, at least) is true of cancer screening, particularly if you are more at risk because of your weight. However, you seem to be ignoring this.

A review of 32 studies found that many obese and overweight women are not being tested for cervical or breast cancer. In fact, they are 10 to 40 percent less likely to be screened than those of normal weight. The reason? Patient discomfort or patient bias (on the part of the doctor). Neither the patient nor the MD wants to broach the subject, and neither wants to go through with the procedure. As a result, an untold number of women are putting themselves at risk for deadly diseases.

After age 40, a woman must be screened for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer every one or two years. The older she gets the more at risk she becomes. If she is overweight or obese, her risk increases, significantly, and the importance, of tests, is even greater.

If you are overweight or obese . . . if you are a woman of any size or age, talk to your doctor about scheduling a mammogram and Pap smear. The two screenings may not be the highlight of your day, but they will be better than discovering that you have a cancer that could have been caught early, by either.

One Response to “If Your Doctor Doesn’t Ask, You Should”

  1. Dakota says:

    What’s also important is making sure you get a second opinion before you make any major decisions – I’m not saying you should put off treatment indefinitely, but you should be sure that what you are doing is your best option. Your health is the most important thing in the world – that’s why we’re on this site buying vitamins and such isn’t it?

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