Helping Women Take Control of Their Health
This National Women’s Health Week say no – to neglecting your health. Women are often busy caring for everyone else while ignoring their own needs. Women’s Health Week is the ideal time to refocus on making your health a priority.
It takes a village … of doctors
You may have a great relationship with your gynecologist, but it’s not enough. “Too many women rely on their gynecologist as their only healthcare provider,” says Robert Squatrito, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. “But it’s not the norm for one doctor to do it all, and you could be missing out on some critical screenings and assessments.”
He recommends including an internist or primary care physician on your healthcare team. “As you get older, it becomes more important for your annual exam to include diabetes and high blood pressure screening and testing for diseases like colon and breast cancer and other health conditions,” he says.
A comprehensive solution for women’s health
The network of experienced, community-based healthcare providers at the Sentara Women’s Health Center at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital provides seamless access to all the healthcare services women need. Our care team works together to ensure that each patient receives a personalized health plan that includes:
- Blood pressure check
- Diabetes screening
- STD testing (if you’re sexually active)
- Cervical cancer screening (PAP test)
- Annual gynecological exam, even if PAP test isn’t needed annually
- Mammogram (recommended annually beginning at age 40 )
- Assessment of vitamin D levels
- Cholesterol test
- Thyroid check
- Colorectal cancer screening (recommended every 10 years beginning at age 50; earlier and more frequently if family history indicates)
- Bone density testing (beginning at age 65)
Speak up: Communication is key
Even the best doctors are not mind readers. That’s why it’s essential that your annual exams include some candid conversations.
“You need to be proactive and be an advocate for yourself,” says Dr. Squatrito. “Don’t wait to be asked, and don’t assume that if the doctor hasn’t specifically asked you about something that it’s not important.” He suggests bringing in a thorough family and personal health history to help your doctor assess your risk factors for various diseases.
“Family history has become more crucial now that we have so much knowledge of the role genetics plays in many diseases,” says Dr. Squatrito. “The field is exploding, and we can use DNA testing to pinpoint risk and make targeted recommendations, such as increased screenings or prophylactic risk reducing surgery.”
Take charge of your health now
The Sentara Women’s Health Center has a dedicated nurse navigator who serves as a central point of contact for all your healthcare services. The nurse navigator is available to discuss symptoms and treatment options, coordinate access to specialized care and schedule appointments.
To learn more or to speak with our Nurse Navigator, please call 757-395-CARE.