Washington, Mo. – Knowing what health screening is recommended can be confusing. Your doctor can help and will offer individualized medical advice.
“When we talk about the recommended guidelines for health screenings, sometimes we hear different things from different sources. It can be very confusing for patients,” said Mercy Clinic gynecologist Christiane Korba, MD.
As a gynecologist, Dr. Korba follows guidelines recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In her practice, she routinely screens for breast and cervical cancers, sexually transmitted diseases, and other gynecologic problems.
“The screening guidelines that I practice are for women at low risk for these particular health issues. My patients who have risk factors, such as family history, may need more frequent testing or will start screenings at a younger age,” said Dr. Korba.
As is widely accepted, she recommends that woman start having annual mammograms at age 40, to try to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages. When it comes to screening for cervical cancer, the recommendations are more complicated and are based on a woman’s age, history of treatment for an abnormal pap, and history of hysterectomy.
“The Pap test guidelines changed because we know Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) causes most cervical cancers,” said Dr. Korba. Only a small percentage of women with persistent HPV infections go on to develop cervical cancer. Most abnormal cervical changes are slowly progressive and detected prior to developing into cancer.
Dr. Korba added that women should be tested for certain sexually transmitted diseases if they are pregnant or at risk.
Women can be screened for other health issues by having their blood pressure and cholesterol checked and, if they are at risk for diabetes, being tested for diabetes. They also can be tested for certain types of cancer, such as with colorectal screenings.
“Ultimately, it’s imperative that women go over their medical histories and health risks with their physicians to determine whether the guidelines apply to them or if they need a different health screening plan,” said Dr. Korba.
Dr. Korba provides gynecology services at Mercy Clinic Gynecology, 901 Patients First Drive in Washington, 636-390-9555, along with Andrea Mose her nurse practitioner. Additionally, obstetrics and gynecology services are provided at Mercy Clinic Women’s Health, 851 E. Fifth St. in Washington, by Christy Bleckman, MD, D. Bruce Glover, DO, Kenneth Hamai, MD, Robert D. Haskins, MD, and Gregory Potts, MD. Dr. Bleckman also sees patients in Pacific. For more information about Mercy Clinic Women’s Health, call 636-239-1101.