What health checks do women need?
What is a health check?
A health check involves a visit to your doctor to assess your current state of health. It ensures early detection of health issues with physical check-ups and screening tests. Health checks can do a great deal to save lives. For example:
- According to BreastScreen NSW, for every 1000 women who have a mammogram screening every two years from age 50 to 74, between six to 10 deaths from breast cancer will be prevented
- A 2014 Australian study found that people who had checks for bowel cancer through the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program had 15% less risk of dying from bowel cancer, and were more likely to have less advanced bowel cancers when diagnosed.
What does a health check involve?
A health check usually consists of:
- talking to your doctor about your current health, any current or recent symptoms, and identifying any potential health issues you may have
- an assessment of risk factors you may have that may increase your risk of health conditions in the future, such as a family history of breast cancer or heart disease
- a discussion about your diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking; your doctor may then write a ‘lifestyle prescription’ to help you make healthier lifestyle choices
- physical checks, such as a breast examination or skin check
- follow-up screening tests, such as blood tests to screen for type 2 diabetes or monitor cholesterol levels.