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List of Essential Tests for Young Women

Submitted by Nic on January 13, 2014

Remember the adage ‘prevention is better than cure'? Having yourself checked at an early age for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis can help doctors to spot them either before they can strike or at the very least, at an early stage. When dealing with an illness such as cancer, one should remember that the recovery rate is much higher the earlier it is detected.

Exactly which screening tests are appropriate in your case will depend on a host of factors such as your age, family history and your own medical history. It would be best to consult your doctor or health care provider before taking any of these tests.

A short list of the more essential tests for a young woman would include:

  • Tests for breast cancer - The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances are for a complete cure. Smaller tumors are less likely to spread to the surrounding areas such as the lymph nodes and the lungs. For ladies in their 20s and 30s, a breast examination performed by your doctor during a routine check-up should suffice.Your doctor may also recommend a mammogram - a low intensity x-ray. Mammograms can help to detect lumps in your breast which cannot be detected by touch. You should get a mammogram once every 1 to 3 years depending on whether you are in a high risk category. For women in their 40s, it is suggested that they have a mammogram at least once a year.
  • Tests for cervical cancer - Cervical cancers can be prevented with the help of regular pap smears. Pap smears are used to detect abnormal cells on the cervix. These cells can then be removed before they have a chance to turn cancerous. Doctors usually recommend that you have your first pap smear by the time you are 21. The test can then be repeated every two years. Women in their 30s or older can also get HPV tests done. Both these tests are quite effective in detecting cervical cancer early on.
  • Tests for HIV - An HIV infected person can be asymptomatic for many years. While there is no cure for this disease, early detection and treatment with anti-HIV medications can help your body fight the infection. Everyone should get tested at least once. The test most commonly used is the ELISA test. The test is usually repeated again after six months to confirm the absence of the virus.
  • Hepatitis B Blood tests - Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus. CDC estimates that the number of new infections in the United States was about 46000 in 2006 alone. New infections are commonest in the age group 25 to 44, so the earlier you screen for the Hepatitis B virus the better it is for you. There is a vaccine available for hepatitis B which you should take if your test results are clear.
  • Tests for skin cancer - There are several different types of skin cancer and early detection and treatment can be effective in all cases. If you have a family history of skin cancer or spend plenty of time in the sun then you should keep an eye out for any changes in your skin. Discolorations, marks, freckles and moles may all be a harbinger of skin cancer. Get your skin checked by your doctor.

While the list of tests is endless, it makes sense to have a complete physical checkup at regular frequencies. Illnesses such as high blood pressure (hypertension), cardiovascular disease and diabetes can all be detected at an early stage if you visit your doctor regularly. An early diagnosis can lead to better treatment with superior outcomes.

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