September is Cervical Screening Awareness Month, a timely call for sexually active women aged 25 to 69 to undergo potentially life-saving cervical smear tests, and to consider other health and well-being checks.
A cervical smear test plays a pivotal role in the prevention of cervical cancer, providing a chance to identify cellular alterations in the cervix at an early stage.
This month can also serve as a reminder to also address other essential aspects of women’s health. Think of it as an annual women’s warrant of fitness.
Being proactive and informed about your well-being is one cornerstone of a healthy life, so make the most of the opportunity to prioritise your health. Think about having an annual eye test, and annual check up and teeth clean at the dentist, looking ahead to regular mammograms, blood pressure monitoring, and blood sugar/cholesterol tests.
Many of these can be achieved with one visit to a general practitioner, who should be able to advise on and schedule appropriate women’s tests.
Women aged 40+ are advised to visit an optometrist every two years, especially if they have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or macular degeneration.
Don’t forget about oral health. Prevent problems in your mouth by keeping teeth and gums in good shape and recognising and responding to problems as soon as they happen. Visit your dentist regularly for a dental check-up.
Breasts – Enrol in New Zealand’s Breast Screening programme, and learn how to self-check your breasts for lumps.
Bones – For those aged 50 and above, or in the post-menopausal stage, talk to your doctor about bone health.
Skin – Given New Zealand’s elevated rates of skin cancer, regular skin checks and mole mapping is advised to detect any changes early on.
Bowel – The National Bowel Screening Programme is a free programme, offered every two years, to 60-74 year-olds to help detect bowel cancer.