Why should you get Screened?: January 18, 2019

From breast to uterine, to ovarian, even cervical—while the cancers are different, doctors say there are some things women can do to lower their risk. “Eating healthy, watching your weight, exercising, they all contribute to a much healthier lifestyle,” explained Dr. Samith Sandadi, a gynecologic oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.

In addition to keeping a healthy and active lifestyle, doctors say it’s also important to know your body, especially when it comes to ovarian cancer. “Ovarian cancer is very different. There is no screening for ovarian cancer. So actually what we push more is that you’re very much aware of your body, aware of any changes, things like that. They are very non-specific symptoms. Some of them include unintentional weight gain, weight loss, bloating, fullness, you get full quickly when you eat,” said Dr. Sandadi.

If patients notice any sudden or persistent changes to their body, it’s important they talk to their doctor. “In contrast to breast cancer, most ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in about a stage three or higher, so it’s very, very important to keep tabs on these things,” he explained.

But for things like cervical and breast cancer, doctors highly recommend screening. Annual pap-smears screen for cervical cancer and yearly mammograms starting at age 40 can detect the early stages of breast cancer. “Breast cancer screening is very, very important because now especially if the cancer is detected in stage one breast cancer, there’s close to a 100 percent survival,” said Dr. Sandadi.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, knowing your body, and having regular screenings can help to prevent and detect gynecologic cancers early—giving patients a fighting chance against cancer.