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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to school? Back to you!

Check-ups aren't just for kids! It’s just as important that you take the time to keep yourself well.  Many women tend to skip that yearly gyn exam, especially if they don’t think they need a pap and aren’t having problems. But regular health exams with an OB/GYN are critical in the prevention of female cancers. Annual exams and tests can help physicians detect problems early so that treatment can be started and give women the best possible outcome.

“Prevention is the key,” said Dr. Gregory Willis, gynecologic oncologist with the PinnacleHealth Women’s Cancer Center. “ Yearly exams are really necessary even if a pap isn't needed at that time. These exams can detect changes, cancers, masses or other problems.”

The following are several exams that women can expect to have at a yearly check-up.

Pelvic Exam- this is performed by the provider to check the internal female organs for normal shape and size.

Pap test- this is a test to check for cancer of the cervix (the opening to a woman's uterus). The cells from the cervix are prepared and looked at under a microscope.

Clinical breast exam- this is an exam done by the provider feeling and looking at the breast to check for breast cancer.

STD test- If you are at risk, your OBGYN will offer you tests for sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

HPV test- Another test your OB/GYN may recommend is a mammogram and a test for HPV ( Human Papilloma Virus). HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection, and it can cause cervical cancer and other cancers including cancer of he vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cause oropharyngeal cancer( cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.

There is a vaccine to prevent HPV, which can protect both males and females against the disease. Talk to your  Gynecologist about the vaccine.

It is important for women to keep yearly exams and have an open and honest dialogue with their OB/GYN so that all necessary testing and exams can be done.

Need to find an OB/GYN? Visit to see reputable providers in your area.


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