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Three Health Screenings You Need This Year

Date: 01/31/18

Regular health screenings are an important part of being healthy. These are the three screenings you need to add to your “to-do” list right now:

1.  Cervical Cancer Screening

Did you know that Louisiana has the 6th highest rate of cervical cancer in the U.S.? Cervical cancer can be easier to treat when it is found early. This is why it’s important for women between the ages of 21 and 64 to have a cervical cancer screening each year.

How is the screening done?

Your doctor will perform a Pap test. This is a procedure that helps find changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer. The doctor will take a small sample of cells from the cervix. The sample will then be sent to a lab for testing.

How long does it take?

A Pap test takes only a few minutes. It causes little to no discomfort. It is a safe procedure. Your doctor can answer any questions you might have about the Pap test and tell you how to prepare for the test.

2.  Breast Cancer Screening

Did you know that Louisiana has the 2nd highest rate of death from breast cancer in the U.S.? In fact, the breast cancer death rate for African-American women in Louisiana is significantly higher than the rest of the country. This is why it is very important for women between the ages of 40 and 74 to have a breast cancer screening each year.

How is the screening done?

The screening is called a mammogram. This is an X-ray of your breasts. Your breast will be placed on the machine’s plate, and an upper plate will be lowered onto your breast. This will flatten your breast so that a picture can be taken. The process will then be repeated on your other breast. You can learn more about what to expect during a mammogram here.

How long does it take?

The exam takes about 20 minutes. After the exam, ask when you will get the results. Be sure to ask for a copy of the results to share with your doctor. Your doctor will help you understand what the results say.

3.  Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Screenings

Did you know that Louisiana has the 3rd highest rate of chlamydia and the highest rate of gonorrhea in the U.S.? Or that Louisiana ranks 5th highest in AIDS case rates? This is why it is so important for sexually active people to be tested each year for chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV.

How are the screenings done?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings are done by testing a sample of a body fluid, like urine, or by taking a sample from the genitals. The HIV screening is usually done by taking a small blood sample. Remember, STI screenings are not always part of your regular checkup or gynecological exam. You should be sure to request the screenings, and be honest with your doctor about your sex life. This will help your doctor determine which tests are best for you.

Where can you get the screening done?

Your doctor can perform the screenings. You can also find a free, fast and confidential testing center near you by using this free tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You do not have to enter any personal information to use the tool – you only need your zip code or city and state. The tool will tell you where to find free, confidential testing centers in your area.

Reminder: Louisiana Healthcare Connections members receive $25 on their rewards card for completing the screenings for chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV each year!