Call Your Doctor Day is today, June 13th! We’re teaming up with the non-profit Bright Pink to remind YOU to take a minute TODAY and schedule your yearly checkup. Need some encouragement? We talked to Dr. Deborah Lindner, OB/GYN and Bright Pink’s Chief Medical Officer, about why it’s so important to see your doctor every year and what to expect from your appointment. Read on to find out why you should take charge of your health and call your doctor!
Why should women go to their doctor every year?
DL: Seeing your doctor or other primary care provider once a year is one of the most important actions you can take for your breast and ovarian health. I remind women that even when you feel healthy you still need to go. It’s important for you and your doctor to have an understanding of what healthy means for you specifically. It’s your baseline.
What if I’m nervous or uncomfortable about going?
DL: That’s natural! But don’t let it stop you from taking care of your body. I encourage women to see their annual exam as this one day a year that you have a partner in managing your health. National Call Your Doctor Day is all about getting up the motivation to call and put your health first. It’s important to find a provider that takes time to answer your questions and makes you feel comfortable. And don’t forget that it never hurts to get a second opinion.
What should we know before our appointment?
DL: It’s helpful to come prepared with your questions—ask us anything, we’re here to work with you—so you can walk away with a more personalized plan to manage your risk for cancer and other diseases. I recommend taking the AssessYourRisk.org quiz by Bright Pink to get a comprehensive report on your baseline risk for breast and ovarian cancer that you can print and bring to your appointment.
Also, it’s helpful to keep track of any changes in your body, specifically in your breasts, or changes to your menstrual cycle or digestive system. If anything has persisted for longer than 2 weeks, bring this to your doctor’s attention.
What should we expect when we’re there?
DL: A well woman exam should include a clinical breast exam, where your healthcare provider will feel your breasts with their hands. It should be thorough, cover all the breast tissue, and typically last several minutes. If your doctor offers this exam, say yes—and if your doctor doesn’t bring it up, make sure you do.
Your provider will also perform a pelvic exam where he or she will actually feel your ovaries to see if there is anything abnormal. During your pelvic exam, you may also receive a pap smear. It’s important to note that a pap smear checks for cervical cancer – not ovarian cancer.
As an OB/GYN, what is your biggest piece of advice for young women?
DL: You’re your own best health advocate. Be confident and take charge of scheduling your appointment. Let Bright Pink help you – join us and Aerie on June 13th and make the call. Get all the resources you need by visiting CallYourDoctorDay.org.
Through 2017, all annual well woman exams are covered by insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Want to learn how to keep good health and become your breast self? Check out our Bright Pink Smoothie Recipe!