Are you concerned about your feminine health? Do you worry that you have not been as proactive as you could be when it comes to your health? Take a step forward by scheduling a cervical cancer or ovarian cancer screening, and talk to our team if you should schedule an ovarian cancer screening. Schedule your consultation with Scottsdale Center for Women’s Health and talk to our team in Scottsdale, AZ, today!
What Are Cervical and Ovarian Cancer Screenings?
Cervical and ovarian cancer screenings are procedures to detect common forms of cancer in women. A cervical cancer screening, also known as a pap smear or pap test, is one of the most common procedures women annually seek as they mature. Ovarian cancer screenings are typically performed under the recommendation of a medical professional on a patient by patient basis.
What Could I Expect from a Procedure?
A cervical cancer screening is a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment that involves the collection of a sample of cervical cells. Vaginal walls are stretched and a cotton swab is used to collect the sample. There is no downtime associated with this short procedure, but minor discomfort or spotting can be common.
If recommended to you, an ovarian cancer screening can be completed via a CA-125 blood test and an ultrasound. The blood test checks levels of CA-125, a protein that is produced by women with ovarian cancer. The transvaginal ultrasound can be beneficial in detecting early stages of the disease.
Both of these cancer screenings are performed as outpatient procedures in the comfort of our Scottsdale office.
What Are Other Screenings to Consider?
Feminine health expands beyond cervical or ovarian cancer concerns. It is important to be proactive about breast health as well. Physical or clinical exams are commonly performed as part of Well Woman visits, and they can be an effective way to discover growths or abnormalities.
However, as women get older, it is recommended they receive mammograms. These are X-rays of breast tissues and are beneficial for early detection of abnormal tissues at their most treatable stage, which is before they fully develop into a visible growth. Annual mammograms are recommended to women once they enter their 40s or 50s, but may be recommended earlier or more frequently if there is a family history or higher risk of breast cancer.
If your pap smear results show anything concerning or abnormal, it is critical to take the next step. Two common procedures are a colposcopy and a LEEP.
A colposcopy is a visual examination of the cervix, vagina, and vulva. The procedure typically takes fewer than 15 minutes, and the experience is similar to a pap smear. If anything concerning is seen on the cervix, a biopsy may be taken.
A loop electrosurgical excision procedure, or LEEP, removes abnormal cervix tissues by utilizing a low-voltage current. This outpatient procedure is usually half an hour, and begins like a traditional pap smear. However, the cervix may be numbed and a rinse will likely be used to distinguish abnormal tissues from the healthy tissues. The abnormal tissue is removed from a low-heated device.
If you have questions or concerns about screenings or results, schedule a consultation with our qualified Arizona team.
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer screening is typically done by mammography, an X-ray of the breast tissue. Mammograms can detect breast tumors early, before they can be felt and while they are most treatable. Depending on your age and cancer history, your doctor may recommend you begin having screening mammograms between age 40 and 50 once a year or once every two years. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can also perform a clinical breast exam, manually checking for growths or abnormalities, during a routine gynecological examination.
Ovarian Cancer Screening
While rare, ovarian cancer is a very deadly form of gynecologic cancer. Only one-fifth of ovarian cancers are discovered at the early stages, when they are most treatable. At this point in time, no screening tests have been shown to lower the risk of dying from ovarian cancer, so none are recommended. However, for women who are genetically at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, transvaginal ultrasound combined with the CA-15 blood test can be used to help screen for the disease.
Your need to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) depends on your lifestyle and risk factors. STI testing is not generally included as a part of your routine gynecological care. You are most at risk of contracting an STI if you are a sexually active girl or woman under age 25, or if you have multiple sex partners. STIs that can be screened for include: chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, and human papillomavirus. There is no reliable screening for genital herpes.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Annual pap smears or Well Woman visits are recommended for all women when they turn 21 or become sexually active, whichever happens first.
Although ovarian cancer is a common form of cancer, there are no tests that have been proven to accurately lower the risk of this cancer. However, if you have a family history of or are more likely to develop ovarian cancer, a cancer screening may be recommended.
Schedule Your Consultation!
Make your feminine health a priority by scheduling an annual appointment for a cervical cancer screening and to learn if you should consider an ovarian cancer screening. Schedule your consultation with our team at Scottsdale Center for Women’s Health! Our team in Scottsdale, Arizona, is committed to your health and wellness.