Every woman should schedule an exam with her gynecologist every year. We call this an “annual
Why make this part of your healthcare routine?
Well woman exams are the first line of defense against diseases of the female reproductive system. Many women avoid the annual exam because they want to avoid the pelvic exam. We understand this concern, but we emphasize to our patients that the annual exam can save their lives.
Perhaps most important, the annual well woman exam can detect early stages of cervical cancer. When treatment begins early (in stage 1a) the 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 93%.*1 The only way to detect cervical cancer at this early stage is with the pelvic exam that is part of your annual well woman exam.
What is included in a well woman exam?
A well-woman exam at Walnut Hill OBGYN Associates in Dallas will include:
- A physical exam
- A breast exam: Your doctor will look for lumps or irregularities in your breasts and show you how to perform a breast self examination. This exam is important to detect early signs of breast cancer.
- A pelvic exam: Your doctor will examine your reproductive organs to determine the size and position of your ovaries, uterus, cervix, and vagina. This exam helps detect early stage cancers, causes of inflammation, sexually transmitted diseases, and other problems particular to the female reproductive system.
- A pap smear test: The pap smear is performed every other year for all women age 21 and above, and all women who have been sexually active for 3 years or more. During the pelvic exam, we will swab the cervix and send these cervical cells to the lab to check for pre-cancerous growth. The pap smear can save your life.
The key to lifelong health
Your doctor needs to know all of your healthcare concerns to best care for you, and an annual exam is an ideal time to share issues, problems or concerns. If you haven’t had an annual
*1Numbers from the National Cancer Database, provided by the American Cancer Society.