There has been some debate over how often women need to see their doctors for checkups and screenings. Now, the nation's leading group of obstetrician and gynecologists is reminding physicians and their patients that an annual doctor's visit is essential.
That well-women visit is a time when you're likely to talk with your doctor about any changes you've seen in your health including your breasts.
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 guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say:
- 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 mammogram.
"If you wait three years, it could be too late, whereas the doctor could have caught something on a yearly visit," Patient Adena Edelberg said.
Doctors say you need to be vigilant about your health at a young age.