Most of us probably spent the weekend honoring our mothers, and I’d like to talk today about the importance of women of all ages making sure they take time to take care of their health. Women often spend a great deal of time caring for others. By taking care of themselves, women can enjoy better health and set a good example for their families.
What health issues should women be thinking about?
During National Women’s Health Week this week, it’s a good time to learn about age-specific health concerns, and the things you might want to pay extra attention to depending on your age. WomensHealth.gov has a great breakdown of that. But two very important health concerns that all women should be aware of are breast and cervical cancer. Idaho has some of the worst screening rates in the nation for these two types of cancer, so there is lots of room for improvement! Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Idaho, and three women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each month in our state.
What if women can’t afford to get screened?
Idaho’s Women’s Health Check program can help low-income, uninsured women who qualify receive free screenings for breast and cervical cancers. You’ll find more information at www.womenshealthcheck.dhw.idaho.gov or by calling the Idaho Careline at 2-1-1.
Why are these screenings so important?
Because getting screened for both cancers on a regular basis is the best way to catch them early. And the earlier cancer is detected, the better your chance of successfully treating it. In fact, researchers around the world found that death rates for cervical cancer dropped by half after screening programs began.
What else can women do this week to make their health a priority?
To improve physical and mental health, all women can and should:
- Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Do your best to avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt.
A Closer Look at Your Health airs weekly on KBOI AM 670 in Boise; this is a transcript of the May 15, 2018 program.