What is Cancer Screening?
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in women in the United States. Cancer screenings are tests that assess your risk of cancer. Detecting cancer or cancer risk early may help prevent complications and improve your response to treatment and overall outcome.
What are Cancer Screens for Women?
The women’s health experts at May-Grant Obstetrics & Gynecology offer many cancer screenings for women. Some of the most common include:
- Pap Smear: The Pap smear is conducted during a pelvic exam and assesses your risk for cervical cancer. Women should start getting Pap smears at age 21. During the test, cells from your cervix are collected and sent to pathology to assess for cell abnormalities.
- Breast Exam: When you come in for your annual well-woman visit, your specialist conducts a breast exam to check for lumps that may indicate cancer. Depending on your age and breast cancer risk factors, your specialist may also recommend a mammogram, which is an X-ray that generates images of your breast tissue to look for abnormalities. It’s generally recommended that women start mammograms at age 40. In addition to the breast exam completed during your visit to May-Grant Obstetrics & Gynecology, your specialist also recommends you conduct a self breast exam every month to not only look for abnormalities but familiarize yourself to your normal breast tissue so if there is a lump, you can identify it right away.
- Mammograms: Our in-office 3D mammography service allows you to have your annual screening mammogram as part of your annual Well Woman exam or during any appointment. This allows the convenience of one location, with results that go directly to your doctor. Our mammography suite offers comfort, discretion, and modesty. We work with one patient at a time. There is no sitting in a crowded waiting room while partially disrobed or the need walk in common/public areas. Our charging rooms are spacious, clean and just steps away from our state-of-the-art equipment. Your mammography is monitored by your doctor – in the same location your medical records, reports, and images are maintained and managed. If any follow-up work is required from a screening mammogram, our physicians are informed and monitor your progress through any additional steps that are required. We work with only the most highly credentialed breast care specialists who interpret all of the mammograms performed in our suite. They meet our exacting standards in terms of education and experience in breast health imaging and interpretation. Exam results are most often available to your physician within 48 hours Our mammography suite offers the very best 3D mammography equipment and peripherals available in the market today. It is manufactured by one of the few global leaders in women’s health technology and has an exceptional and consistent record of performance and clarity. Major healthcare organizations like the American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure advise that every woman over age 40 (or earlier with family history of breast cancer) have an annual screening mammogram. A screening 3D mammogram greatly increases chances of detecting most anomalies at their earliest stage. That’s why our practice subscribes to these recommendations and offers in-office 3D mammography to all of our patients. The chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age - 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Most experts in women's health agree with having a mammogram at 40+ years of age.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is a common sexually transmitted disease. Certain strains of HPV increase your risk of cervical cancer. In addition to your Pap smear, your specialist at May-Grant Obstetrics & Gynecology may also recommend an HPV screen during your pelvic exam.
Your specialist may also conduct genetic testing if you have a family history of cancer. Mutations in certain genes, including BRAC1 and BRAC2, may increase your risk of developing cancer. Getting tested may help direct frequency and type of breast and other cancer screenings.
What if I Have a Positive Cancer Screening Result?
If your cancer screen is positive, your specialist at May-Grant Obstetrics & Gynecology may recommend additional testing. For example, if your Pap smear indicates abnormal cervical cells, your specialist may conduct a colposcopy, which is an in-office procedure where they closely examine your cervical tissue with a colposcope, a type of magnifying instrument. A biopsy may be conducted during this test.
Cancer screenings are an important part of your overall health and wellness plan. To schedule your screening, call May-Grant Obstetrics & Gynecology today, or book an appointment online.