The importance of a mid-year health check for women

A mid-year health check with your GP is a positive step for your body and mind

Ever had the feeling you’ve blinked, and suddenly more than half the year is nearly gone? In the midst of job pressures, social engagements and family commitments the months can often merge into the next, but there is one date we should always commit to keeping. With our lives playing out at full speed, it’s our health that often takes the back seat, and it’s easy to forget the importance of a regular, mid-year health check with a GP. “A health check every six months gives your GP insights into your overall health and lifestyle while providing you with the peace of mind that your health is on track,” said Dr Caroline Rogers, Lead Independent Doctor at our Warringah Medical and Dental Centre. “While a mid-year health check is important for women of all ages, it is particularly important for those aged between 45 to 49 who are at risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, as well as those who are smokers,” she added.

Health areas women should get checked regularly by their GP include:

Cervical cancer screenings

Dr Rogers advised that 80% of cervical cancers occur in women who have never been screened or don’t screen regularly. For this reason, a cervical screening test is recommended for women aged between 18 to 69 years old every two years. This can be easily bundled into a mid-year health check. A cervical cancer screening can detect early changes in the cervix before cervical cancer develops and it can also detect if cervical cancer is present, particularly in younger women. It is important to note that at the end of this year Australia is moving to a new testing regime for cervical screening. The cervical screening will change to every five years, using a different screening method which looks for the virus that causes cancer rather than the pre-cancerous cells themselves. Until the new program is introduced, it is very important that women continue to participate in the current two yearly cervical screening test program to ensure they are not at risk of developing cervical cancer. Please visit www.cancerscreening.gov.au for further details about the changes.

Breast Examinations

With breast cancer accounting for 15.5% of all cancer-related deaths in Australian women, a regular breast examination is essential for women at any age. A breast examination can help with early detection of any abnormalities or changes in the breast that could potentially indicate cancerous cells are present. While self-examinations can be undertaken at home, all GPs are trained to recognise different types of abnormalities and/or warning signs, helping to ensure early detection, treatment and cure. It is also recommended that from the age of 50, and earlier for those at risk, women should have a screening mammogram every two years.

Menopause

Menopause is a natural change within the body that happens to every woman, however, symptoms and impact can differ for every individual. The average age for a woman to reach menopause is 51 in Australia, but it can occur at any time between the ages of 45 and 55.

Healthy body and mind

According to Dr Rogers, during a mid-year health check: “Your GP will listen to you closely about your overall health, lifestyle and understand any worries that you may have. Your GP will provide professional advice regarding the importance of a healthy lifestyle to ensure your consistent physical and mental well-being.” “Remember that a mid-year health check with your GP is a positive step for your body and mind, giving you peace of mind and the tools to ensure that you maintain healthy choices throughout the year,” she said. Book an appointment at your nearest medical centre and have these essential check-ups.