Women's Whole Health

October 5, 2021

October is well known around the world as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a good time to make sure you’re doing your routine breast self-exams, and also a good time to schedule a mammogram if you’re a woman over 40 years old or younger and have a family history of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month should also serve as an important reminder for women to think about their whole health and schedule any other screenings or check-ups they might be eligible or overdue for.

Here’s a list of other common screenings for women to consider:

  • DEXA scan – an imaging test that measures bone density and can provide details about the risk for Osteoporosis. Recommended for women 65 years and older or younger, with risk factors.
  • Colonoscopy – recommended for anyone over age 50, or earlier with family history.
  • Cholesterol screening - recommended starting ages for cholesterol screening are age 45 for women with no known risk factors for coronary heart disease, and age 20 for women with known risk factors.
  • Diabetes screening – your provider may test your blood sugar levels if: your blood pressure is 130/80 mm Hg or above, or you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes
  • Infectious disease screening - women who are sexually active should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea up until age 25, and after 25 regularly if at high risk. Anyone above age 18 should get a one-time test for hepatitis C.
  • Blood pressure – should be checked at least every one to two years.
  • Cervical cancer screening – a PAP test is recommended at least every 3 years for women age 21 and older.

All of these screenings, as well as the latest in advanced 3-D Mammography, are available close to you at Mille Lacs Health System. Inquire with your medical provider about what screenings you may be eligible for. Having a baseline screening, or catching abnormalities sooner than later, is always the best bet.