Many women juggle multiple roles. Spouse, parent, homemaker, business owner or employee, caregiver to an aging parent, and financial support of relatives are some that come to mind. I’m sure you can add one or two of your own to that list.
Women are nurturers by nature. A Princeton University study found that daughters are twice as likely as sons to care for an aging parent. All that nurturing and caregiving can take a toll on a woman’s health if you’re not paying attention.
January is Cervical Health month, and like all other health promotion campaigns, its goal is to make you aware of preventive and other practices that promote good health.
In the following post, Dr. Oge Ilegbune of Lakeshore Cancer Center, one of The HealthZone Television program’s guest experts reminds you to give yourself the gift of good health this year.
Women, 2018 is a year to take care of yourself physically, mentally, socially and in fact in all spheres.
Granted some things are under our control while others we most certainly have to ask for God’s grace to handle in depth.
What’s under our control involves making decisions about quite a few things that concern us directly and one of those is HEALTH. As we mature, there are many preventive measures that we can take to increase our chances of having an excellent run through until our Maker deems it right for us to meet Him.
Apart from a healthy diet, exercise, de-stressing, not smoking, and limiting alcohol etc., one of the most important things we must do is SCREEN. To screen, is to do medical tests to check for the POSSIBLE presence of a disease even though you have no signs or symptoms. Routine screening includes Blood pressure, Blood Sugar, Eye test, Dental check and clean, Weight in relation to Waist measurement, and BMI.
BUT also, Cancer Screening! I understand there is no way to mention that word without the heart skipping a bit. However, it is a beautiful and thankful thing to see indeed when someone detects cancer early and can go about their business after treatment rather than presenting late in an advanced stage when it becomes more challenging to treat.
So to cut a long story short, for 40-year-olds and above, this is an outline of what you MUST do unfailingly for yourself because you deserve every good thing in life.
- Self Breast Examination every month 5-7 days after a period. If you don’t have a period anymore pick the same date every month to do so.
- Annual Clinical Breast Examination – once a year carried out by a Doctor or Nurse who knows how. Please note that not all doctors and nurses do Breast Examination.
- Mammogram every two years, which takes pictures to pick out any abnormal areas that the fingers are unable to feel. Studies have shown that a Mammogram can pick up a lump or cluster of cancer cells 2 years before fingers can. So imagine that by the time one can feel a lump, it has been present for about 1-2 years.
- Cervical Screening – the Gold Standard is Liquid-based Cytology to screen for Cervical Cancer. It’s more accurate than the basic pap smear.
I’ll say a quick word here about the HPV vaccine. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) a sexually transmitted virus is responsible for 99% of cervical cancer. For women of mature age with many years of sexual activity, taking the HPV vaccination is not that effective as some clinics who wish to make money market it to unsuspecting women.
We have all probably been exposed to the Human Papilloma virus from time to time over the years. By and large, the body deals with it efficiently and gets rid of it particularly if one’s immune system is operating quite well.
However, if you’re concerned your doctor can test you for HPV, and if you are negative, then the vaccine could be considered. I advise that you must have an in-depth discussion with your doctor before taking that step.
You’d do better to have your teenage and young adult daughters get the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is protective at their age. The age range for vaccination is 9 years – 26 years.
Dr. Oge Ilegbune was a General Practitioner in the UK until her return to Nigeria in 2014. In her current role as the Head of Strategy, Development, and Outreach for Lakeshore Cancer Center, Lagos, she is keenly focused on spearheading the eradication of cancer in Nigeria and has immense passion and enthusiasm in her advocacy.