If your annual doctor’s visit causes unwanted nerves and anxiety, you’re not alone. But making time to see your doctor every year, even when you feel healthy, is critical to maintaining your breast and ovarian health. So, in honor of Call Your Doctor Day, we’re breaking down the Well-Woman Exam. Because knowing what to expect can give you peace of mind. And peace of mind counts for a lot.
- Clinical Breast Exam: You should expect your doctor to thoroughly examine your breast tissue, which extends up your collarbone, around to your armpits, and into your breastbone. Word to the wise: Your doc does this multiple times a day so try not to feel awkward. It’s routine — trust us!
- Pelvic Exam: During the pelvic exam, your doctor will feel your ovaries to check for signs of ovarian cancer. It may be a tad uncomfortable but it’s important to trust your doctor and relax. Your doctor may also perform a Pap test but Pap tests only check for cervical cancer — not ovarian cancer.
- Mammogram: Plan to talk to your doctor about starting mammograms at age 40. But, if you have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with breast cancer, you should schedule your first mammogram when you are 10 years younger than the age at which your relative was diagnosed. So, if your mom was diagnosed at 45, talk to your doctor about starting mammograms at 35.
- Google is great but nothing beats face-to-face. To help guide a powerful doctor-patient conversation, complete our breast and ovarian cancer risk assessment quiz and take your customized results to your next appointment.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, the annual Well-Woman Exam is completely covered by insurance. So no more excuses, ladies! It’s time to get that appointment on the books.