Well Woman Visits
A well-woman appointment is a once-a-year general health exam that includes a breast and pelvic exam that may or may not include a Pap test. It is also an opportunity to talk with your provider about your health. In addition to the exam, your provider will ask you a series of questions about your health and family health history.
Current Pap test guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG):
- Testing should start at age 21
- Women age 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years
- Women age 30 to 65 should have a Pap test and a HPV test every 5 years (preferred) but it is acceptable to have a Pap test alone every 3 years
- Women may be eligible to stop having Pap tests after age 65 depending on their medical history, you can discuss with your provider
Before a Pap test, avoid douching or applying vaginal creams for two days and refrain from sexual intercourse for 24 hours. Most Pap tests yield normal results. Even an abnormal result rarely indicates cancer; it may simply mean that you need to be treated for an infection or retake the test.
The preferred Pap test
Our women's health professionals use the Thin Prep Pap Test, the most accurate means of detecting cervical cancer. This relatively new test does not change the exam that women receive during a Pap test, but the process by which the sample is tested has been improved.
Regular exams increase the odds of catching precancerous cells before they have a chance to mutate into full-blown cancer. The Thin Prep Pap Test is available throughout the Bassett Healthcare Network. For more information, call 1-800-BASSETT (1-800-227-7388).
Regular, monthly breast self-exams will help you learn what is normal for you and your body. Viewing and feeling your breasts to familiarize yourself with patterns of lumpiness may help you recognize when there is a change.
At your regular medical checkup, your health care provider will conduct a clinical breast exam, a visual exam and carefully feel the entire breast. A yearly mammogram is recommended beginning at age 40. Talk with your provider about whether to continue your yearly mammogram if you are age 75 or older.
If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options available and a better chance of survival. A mammogram can find breast cancer before it can be felt. Women age 40 and older should have a clinical breast exam and mammogram at least once a year. Women at higher risk may need to be screened earlier or more frequently.*
*Susan G. Komen Foundation
Click here to download the PDF of Women's Health screening guidelines including cervical cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and STD screening.
|Bassett Medical Center Telephone Numbers
|Birthing Center (24/7)
|Ob/Gyn Clinic (Monday - Friday, 8:30am-5pm)
|Bassett Healthcare Network Outreach Clinics providing Ob/Gyn Care
|Cobleskill Regional Hospital
|Hamilton Specialty Services
|Herkimer Health Center
|Oneonta Women's Health Center