You might not think about your health that much during your 20’s and 30’s, but by the time you reach your 50’s you should definitely start prioritizing your wellbeing. Giving your body nutritious foods, exercising regularly and avoiding poor lifestyle choices can all help you maintain your health. And identifying any problems early is another way to add years to your life. Medical screening tests have a significant role to play in helping you maintain good health. As a postmenopausal woman, there are certain screenings you don’t want to miss!
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Qatar, accounting for 24% of all cases. Self-checking is an essential habit to get into, but you should also attend a yearly breast examination, and consider having a mammogram every two years, or every year if you are at high risk (for example, if there is a history of breast cancer in your family). Detecting breast cancer early increases your chances of a full recovery.
Pap Smear with DNA Test for HPV
A pap smear will diagnose any precancerous cells in your cervix, while the HPV DNA test will tell you if you are infected with the virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. Detecting these early means you can receive treatment to help protect you from cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, women screened between the ages of 35 and 64 have a 60-80% lower risk of being diagnosed withcervical cancer compared to women who have not been screened.
Colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women in Qatar. Three main screening tests are on offer to detect early cases. Firstly, an annual fecal occult blood test after the age of 50 can detect traces of blood in the stool, which can indicate colorectal cancer. The other procedures are more invasive. A sigmoidoscopy looks inside the rectum and lower colon (sigmoid), and is recommended every five years. A colonoscopy, which looks at the entire colon, is recommended every ten years.
Screening for Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in Qatar. To reduce your risk, it’s important to identify some of the risk factors involved in cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. This can enable you to get these factors under control before your heart begins to suffer. Check your cholesterol levels every five years, get a blood pressure reading every year and a fasting glucose test every two years.
Screening for Osteoporosis
Around 21% of Qatari women between the ages of 60 and 69 have osteoporosis, a condition that increases the risk of wrist, hip and spinal fractures. Osteoporosis dramatically reduces quality of life, and is associated with an increase in mortality. Your doctor may recommend a bone mineral density scan, which can diagnose osteoporosis, from the age of 60. However, if you have a family history of osteoporosis, or are taking medications that can cause bone thinning, like cortisone, this screening may be offered sooner.
Regular check-ups are as much part of a healthy lifestyle as eating plenty of vegetables and moving your body. Take time out of your busy schedule for a medical screening—the time it takes is insignificant when you consider the positive impact these tests can have on your wellbeing.