At Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists, we believe that annual exams that includes a pelvic and breast exam are absolutely essential. Annual exams are more than just tests; it is the opportunity to sit down, face-to face with your physician, and discuss your concerns. Learn more about what to expect during your annual exam.
We recommend you get an pelvic exam every year as soon as you become sexually active, regardless of age. This important exam allows us to check the female organs for changes in size or shape and signs of disease like inflammation, masses, or fibroids. If any changes are discovered during your exam, we will recommend additional testing, such as a pelvic ultrasound for further examination.
During your pelvic exam, we can perform a pap smear to test the cells in the cervix for any changes that could lead to cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends:
- Every woman should get her first pap smear test at 21 years old and continue to do so every three years until she turns 30.
- Women aged 30-65 years old: every five years
An abnormal pap smear doesn’t always mean cancer. Many women experience cervical cell changes, and often those changes go back to normal on their own. Should you receive an abnormal pap smear, we will request additional testing like a colposcopy or cervical biopsy for closer examination of the changes. If results of follow-up tests indicate significant changes, the abnormal cells will be removed. You will need follow-up testing after treatment and regular cervical cancer screening after the follow up is complete.
Listen to Dean Turner, MD discuss the importance of a pelvic exam and pap smear and when to get them.
It’s important to conduct monthly self breast exams to know what is normal for your breasts so you can notice small changes and report them right away.
We can perform a clinical breast exam during your pelvic exam to feel for any changes.
ACOG advises women get a clinical breast exam:
- Every one to three years for women 20-30 years old
- Every year for women aged 40 and older
You should talk with us about your risk factors to make a decision about whether to have a clinical breast exam.
Continued OBGYN Screening Education
Our physicians remain educated in the latest screening guidelines and advanced technology to bring our patients the best care. Dean Turner, MD participates in national committees like the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology to review and recommend new screening standards for women.