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News Ladies, get your exam once a year

Ladies, get your exam once a year

St. Louis,

Annual well woman visits are important

Have you seen this cervical cancer screening guideline (image at right)? This is great information and explains the Center for Disease Control's guideline to help prevent cervical cancer. Since January was Cervical Cancer Awareness month, we spoke with one of our SSM Health Medical Group experts.   

"Guidelines are great but we must also pay attention to the individual woman's personal history," states Ruth Rakey, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner at SSM Health Medical Group's Primary Care office in Centralia. Since the guideline came out, Rakey explains, many women have confused a pap smear with the annual well woman visit. Therefore some women are skipping their annual exam for three years or more, which isn't good.  She encourages women to have an annual well-woman exam.

Why? The annual well woman visit includes the following, according to Rakey:

  • Breast exam - identifying masses or changes in breast tissue;

  • Pelvic exam -checking for ovary enlargement; 

  • Heart and lungs review, 

  • Skin check - Rakey has found many precancerous and cancerous areas during  annual exams; and 

  • This is the time to talk! Rakey states, "It is a laid back, low key visit which gives women a chance to talk about wellness, NOT when you are sick, stressed and not when you are worried about other health issues."

"A lot of the time, women want to talk about more personal things.  Things they aren't comfortable talking about otherwise; things some women consider as private.  Our team includes five women; we are comfortable talking about those things," says Rakey.

Ruth Rakey, WHNP, is part of the five woman team at SSM Health Medical Group Primary Care in Centralia who perform annual well women exams - check them out. 

Ladies, schedule your annual well-woman exam with one of the women at the SSM Health Medical Group Primary Care office in Centralia, give them a call at 618.532.9050.