• A hard lump or knot
• Changes in the way your breasts feel or look
• Changes in color, size, shape or texture
• Dimples, puckers, bulges or ridges on the skin
• Inverted nipple
• Redness, warmth, swelling or pain
• Itching, scales, sores or rashes
• Bloody nipple discharge
Preventive exams such as mammograms play an important role in women’s health. Other recommended screening guidelines for women from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force include:
• Blood pressure - At least every two years
• Bone density test - At least once at age 65 or older
• Cervical cancer (Pap test) – Ages 21-29, every two years; Over age 30, every five years
• Cholesterol test – Starting at age 20, tested regularly if you’re at an increased risk for heart disease
• Colorectal cancer – Starting at age 50
• Diabetes – Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80.
• HIV, STDs – Get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases if you are sexually active. Discuss your risk with your health care provider because you may need more frequent tests.
It’s also important that women get regular checkups with their health care provider. Ask your provider how often you need to be seen for routine checkups. You can use that time in the doctor’s office to bring up any health concerns or questions you might have.
Ginny Clementson is a Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She will give a Speaking of Health presentation on women’s health that is open to the public in the lower level conference center of the hospital at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.
(For more information, please go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org. Health & Fitness coverage is supported by Mayo Clinic Health System, preserving the health and well-being of southern Minnesota communities.)