PHOENIX -- This week is National Women's Health Week, and the theme for this year is "It's Your Time." The idea is to empower women to take control of their health, making it a top priority.
Too often, women put their own health on the back burner so that they can care for others.
National Women's Health Week encourages women to take several proactive steps, including:
- getting a regular checkup;
- getting active;
- eating healthfully;
- paying attention to mental health;
- getting enough sleep
- managing stress
- and avoiding unhealthy habits.
Monday, May 14 is actually National Women's Check-up Day.
With regards to getting that regular checkup, Dr. Angela DeRosa, an internal medicine specialist in Scottsdale, ran down five essential screenings women should have. At the top of the list is a thorough skin-cancer screening.
- Skin cancer screening -- The American Cancer Society estimates that Arizona will see 1,650 news cases of melanoma this year.
- An EKG for heart disease -- Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and the symptoms are not always obvious. It's six times more likely to kill you than breast cancer. Women older than 50 should have an EKG every year.
- Pap smears annually between the ages of 21 and 30, and then every three years in patients older than 30, providing they are in a monogamous relationship and have a history of normal pap smears.
- A mammogram starting at age 40 every other year and annually after age 50.
- A colonoscopy -- After a baseline is established at age 50 then follow-up tests should be done every five to 10 years.
DeRosa said there are several tests women might think they need, but are really just a waste of your time and money.
"Unfortunately, there's a lot of naturopathic physicians and other physicians who are looking at ways to make income and money," DeRosa explained.
- Salivary hormone testing
- Hair analysis for nutrient testing
- DXA scans
- Coronary calcium scan
- Candida Screening
- Progesterone levels