There is some confusion about how often healthy women should visit the doctor.
Adena Edelberg makes sure to visit her OB/GYN every year. "I'm 45-years-old so now is the time to stay on top of things to prevent anything from happening," she said.
Doctors agree, and say that kind of vigilance needs to start even younger.
The latest opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is that all women should go to the doctor every year, for what's known as a well-visit. There's been confusion over when women need to see their doctor, now that cervical cancer screenings are no longer recommended every year for healthy women.
"The annual examination and visit to their OB/GYN is really crucial and can help them stay healthy for a very long time," said Dr. Jill Maura Rabin with Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
What happens in the exam depends on the patient's age and risk factors. The guidelines -- according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
- Women should get a pap test every one to three years.
- At age 30, HPV tests should accompany pap smears.
- Women should have pelvic exams every year starting at age 21.
- Clinical breast exams are also necessary every one to three years.
- Starting at 40, Those exams should be done every year along with a
Edelberg has cystic ovaries, so even when she's not due for a pap, she sees
Dr. Rabin every year. "If you wait three years, it could be too late, whereas the doctor could have caught something on a yearly visit," she said.
Dr. Rabin calls those yearly visits a golden opportunity to bond with your
doctor and check for any early signs of trouble.
Susan McGinnis - CBS News
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