A well-woman examination is low on many women’s list of priorities, but the benefits of yearly preventive visits far outweigh the less-comfortable aspects of the experience. This Cervical Health Awareness month, take care of yourself and take the stress of scheduling out of the equation.
The Importance Of Yearly Exams
At one time, cervical cancer was the deadliest cancer for women. But in the last thirty years, the American Cancer Society reports that the mortality rate due to cervical cancer has decreased by more than 50% and continues to fall. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), only 12,042 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012.
This drop is largely due to the distribution of the HPV vaccine and the use of preventative screening and pap smears through yearly well-woman exams, where cervical cancer can be identified and treated in early stages.
The most common cause of cervical cancer is a specific type of human papillomavirus, or HPV, that is transferred during sexual contact. The CDC recommends that young women between the ages of 11 and 15 receive the three-step HPV vaccination before becoming sexually active to prevent the cancer — yet not all young women have the opportunity to get it, as Mother Jones notes.
While cervical cancer affects only women, men can contract HPV as well. In fact, young men in the same age range are also now advised to receive the vaccine. Regular preventative health exams starting at 15, the age recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, help keep young patients aware of the importance of these vaccinations and regular cervical health.
Besides identifying and preventing cervical cancer and other reproductive health issues, well-woman exams allow patients to have some face time with their doctor about their reproductive health.
This is more important than one might expect — many women don’t realize the importance of cervical health, and an in-person consultation encourages more open discussion about issues patients may not realize could actually be symptoms of larger health issues. For the doctor, in-person visits give them a chance to identify specific lifestyle or genetic risk factors that might not be obvious with less frequent visits.
Health On Your Own Time
Even though there’s clear and overwhelming evidence that annual well-woman exams are important, many patients end up putting off or skipping appointments because of the hassles of scheduling and perceived high costs. Gynecologists are often booked weeks in advance, which makes it even tougher to get into the office to see the doctor at times that don’t disrupt day to day schedules.
SingleCare allows regular exams to be scheduled on your own time from a huge pool of healthcare providers, no matter what level of insurance you have. SingleCare is also completely price-transparent: the amount paid for the service is pre-negotiated, allowing patients to be totally sure of the amount they’ll be spending going into an appointment. On average members save 24% on their OB-GYN visits when booked through SingleCare.
The convenience and affordability of SingleCare’s program helps keep routine appointments (like a yearly well-woman exam) easily accessible, making the maintenance of cervical health a quick and easy process — as it should be.
(Main image credit: monkeybusinessimages/Thinkstock)