Cancer screenings of reproductive organs a part of routine gynecological care in Chicago
Cancer in its many forms poses a great deal of concern for both men and women today. For this reason, routine gynecological care often involves cancer screenings of reproductive organs. In our Chicago office, we provide care that meets the unique needs of each of our patients, planning screenings as recommended by leading medical associations.
Most patients who are screened for cancer are in good health and require no further assessment or treatment. Our team is concerned with the overall health of our patients and follows specific health guidelines in our commitment to optimal care.
Screening for breast cancer begins with the manual examination of tissue. The breast cancer screening is often included in the annual wellness visit. This process involves checking for lumps and other changes to tissue. If abnormality is detected, we may follow up with ultrasound or mammogram to further examine the cells in breast tissue.
Pap smear testing is conducted at specific intervals based on age. During her twenties, a woman should be tested every one to three years based on their risk factors. After the age of thirty until about age 65, pap smears are recommended at one to three year intervals based on risk factors and should also include testing for HPV, human papillomavirus. Pap smear screening is conducted to identify abnormality (pre-cancerous activity) in cervical cells.
Men and women of all ages are encouraged to receive an annual skin cancer screening in addition to monthly self examination. During your first skin cancer screening, we may demonstrate how the self exam should be conducted. In the office, specialized instruments may be used to closely examine areas of concern. If cancerous cells are suspected, biopsy may be ordered to rule out skin cancer.
Ovarian cancer is particularly challenging in terms of diagnosis. Risk factors are identified during consultation and examination in the well-woman visit. If factors are identified or abnormalities suspected or exam is abnormal, additional testing such as ultrasound may be ordered. Sometimes tumor markers are ordered but there can be a false positive rate with them. Uterine cancer
The most common finding with uterine cancer is abnormal bleeding. If a pelvic ultrasound shows thickened endometrial lining, further testing may be needed. If a woman is over age 35, uterine biopsy may be needed. Sometimes a transvaginal ultrasound is obtained. Although the Pap smear is conducted as a way to detect cervical cancer, there are times in which an abnormal result may indicate abnormality in glandular cells, a sign of potential uterine cancer. Uterine biopsy and colposcopy might be needed for this finding. Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy screening is intended for the early detection of colorectal cancer. This screening does not usually begin until after the age of fifty. Depending on risk factors, general health, and the presence of symptoms, the full colonoscopy, in which a flexible lighted tube is used to visualize the walls of the rectum and colon, . This screening may be performed only every ten years, although more frequently if there is family history or prior abnormal colonoscopy. Rectal exams and fecal occult blood testing should be started at age 40.
Northwestern Women’s Health Associates offers the extent of care you need through every stage of life and development. Schedule your well-woman visit today by calling 312-440-9400.