Top 5 health screenings every woman should have

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

May is National Women’s Health Month

PHOENIX -- Preventative health screenings are important but there is conflicting information about who needs them, when the right time is to get screened and how often certain tests should be done.

May is National Women’s Health Month so it’s time to set the record straight and take health matters into your own hands.

Preventative health screenings are some of the most effective ways we have to fight disease. Early detection allows for early intervention, which increases the chances of a better outcome. It’s important for women to know what tests are recommended for them to have and when they should begin having them.

Here are the top five tests I suggest for my patients.

1. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women worldwide, six-times more likely to cause death than breast cancer. Based on these statistics, women over the age of 50 should have an electrocardiogram (EKG) yearly.

2. Skin cancer screenings must be conducted every year no matter what your age. The American Cancer Society anticipates Arizona will have 1,650 new cases of melanoma in 2012.

3. Pap smears should be done 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.

4. Starting at age 40, mammograms need to be performed every other year and annually after age 50. Another test for breast cancer is detectDX breast test for women ages 35-75. Getting a specialized breast cancer blood test along with a mammogram to detect breast cancer can be done before 40 too.

5. A colonoscopy should be performed at age 50 to screen for colon cancer. After a baseline is established, follow up tests should be done every five to10 years.

Women spend a lot of time caring for others, so they often don't make their own health a priority.National Women’s Health month is a great time for women of all ages to take control of their own health by getting the recommended screenings, and by making a commitment to being active, eating right and making their own mental well-being and hormonal health a priority.

Dr. Angela DeRosa is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Internal Medicine and Women's Health. DeRosa Medical has locations in Scottsdale, Sedona and Chandler. For more information, call 480-619-4097 or visit