What should women do to maintain their health?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Early detection is often the best prevention. But do you know which common medical tests you should have this year?

There are five tests that target life-altering, sometimes deadly, conditions every woman needs to watch for. These include screenings for oral cancer, peripheral arterial disease (hardening of the arteries), depression, skin cancer, and glaucoma.

Here are compelling reasons why you need to get these tests now:

•  Oral cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates of all cancer, most likely because lesions are not detected until too late. Early detection can improve your survival by 90%, yet not every dentist screens regularly for oral cancer, so you have to insist on it.

•  Peripheral arterial disease (hardening of the arteries) significantly increases your chances of heart attack or stroke.

•  Serious depression affects an estimated 19 million Americans annually. Depressive disorders have been linked to increased mortality from other chronic illnesses like heart disease and possibly cancer.

• Skin cancer is the number one cancer in America. Early detection can increase your chance of survival by 600%.

• Glaucoma is the world's leading cause of preventable blindness.




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Alice Domar

There are three basic rules that apply to women of every age. If every woman in the country followed these three rules, we would all be a lot healthier.

  1. Wear your seat belt. Every time. No excuses.
  2. Practice safe sex. It doesn't matter your age or background.
  3. Don't smoke and don't allow yourself to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD
Internal Medicine

There are preventive screening tests that should be done to ensure maintenance of good health. These include:
Breast Health: a mammogram should be done annually from age 40. Earlier screening is done in women with a family history or other risk factors for breast cancer. Breast self exam  should be done by the patient and a clinical breast exam should be performed by the physician.
Pap Smears: The following guidelines were taken directly from the American Cancer society guidelines:

  • All women should begin cervical cancer screening at age 21.
  • Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. They should not be tested for HPV unless it is needed after an abnormal Pap test result.
  • Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have both a Pap test and an HPV test every 5 years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.
  • Women over age 65 who have had regular screenings with normal results should not be screened for cervical cancer. Women who have been diagnosed with cervical pre-cancer should continue to be screened.
  • Women who have had their uterus and cervix removed in a hysterectomy and have no history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer should not be screened.
  • Women who have had the HPV vaccine should still follow the screening recommendations for their age group.
  • Women who are at high risk for cervical cancer may need to be screened more often. Women at high risk might include those with HIV infection, organ transplant, or exposure to the drug DES. They should talk with their doctor or nurse.
(taken from :

Colon Cancer Screening: colonoscopy and stool hemoccults should be done at age 50. Earlier screening if there is a family history of colon cancer or if the patient has a history of inflammatory bowel disease or hereditary polyposis syndromes.

Annual Physical exam: This should be a comprehensive physical exam with lab work. This includes blood pressure evaluation, height, weight and basic lab work which screen for cholesterol disorders, diabetes or anemia and thyroid abnormalities. More comprehensive testing will be based on existing medical problems in a patient and family history of diseases. Discussion regarding diet, exercise and nutrition should also be done during these visits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.