What Women In Their Teens And 20s Need To Know (1st Week Programs)

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1) Pelvic Exam And Pap Test

When you turn 18 or become sexually active, it’s time to schedule a pelvic examination and Pap test. Nobody loves going in for these, but remember, neither should be painful, and they could save your life. During the exam, your doctor will first look at your external genitalia for signs of irritation or disease. Then she (or he) will use a tool called a speculum to separate your vaginal walls. Next, your doctor will perform a Pap test to check your cervix for abnormal cells that could indicate a precancerous condition. She will scrape cells from your cervix and cervical canal in a quick and painless procedure. (If anything ever hurts during the exam, tell your doctor immediately.) The Pap test is particularly important to have if you are or have been sexually active: it can help diagnose human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer. After removing the speculum, your doctor will feel your ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes to make sure they are healthy. She may then perform a rectal exam to check for abnormalities in the wall separating the rectum and vagina. Most doctors recommend a pelvic exam once a year, and the American Cancer Society suggests a Pap test be performed during your first three pelvic exams. If the results are normal, ask your doctor how often you should schedule future Pap tests.

2) Breast Exam

It’s not too soon to be aware of breast cancer . The American Cancer Society recommends that you examine your breasts for unusual lumps or bumps once a month right after your period ends and have your gynecologist examine your breasts every three years once you turn 20. If there is a history of breast cancer in your family, ask your doctor about when to start having mammograms.

3) Dental Exam

Visit the dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and examined for cavities.

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