speculum used for a well woman check that could save your life

Raise your hand if you’re busy.

Keep it raised if you’re so busy you haven’t had an annual well woman check up in so long you can’t really remember.

You’re not alone.

The thought of scheduling an appointment, which is probably going to be months away, and then getting to the appointment in the midst of all the other things going on in life is daunting. It’s easy to see why so many of us put off our well woman check ups.

The reality is, though, your well woman check could save your life.

Last week at BlogHer18 Health, I got to hear 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller speak about her experience with an annual exam that changed her life.

Shannon Miller speaks about Ovarian Cancer

As the busy mom of two young kids, Shannon was scheduled to go to her gynecologist for a well woman check. She saw the appointment on her calendar for later in the week and felt like she was just too busy that day to take the time for the appointment. When she called the doctor’s office, the receptionist told her she could cancel that appointment, but she really needed to come in soon. As it turned out, there was a cancellation for that same day. Shannon reluctantly went in.

Her physician found a tennis ball sized cyst on her ovary. It was malignant.

As a seven-time Olympic medalist, she knows her body really well. And yet Shannon had no red flag symptoms to indicate she had ovarian cancer.

Thank goodness the physician’s receptionist was kind of a bully about not cancelling the appointment outright!

I hear from many women that they feel their annual check is a waste of time. One or two quick tests, then they’re sent off without any real inquiry or conversation about their health. If this is true for you, please find a physician who will listen to you. Your health is worth it!

If you are nervous about speaking with your physician, write a script or bullet points of your questions. Having that to refer to during your appointment will raise your confidence. You can also take a friend along to the appointment if you need a wing-woman. Whatever you need to do to make it happen, do it!

Your health and wellness depend on you advocating for yourself. It’s not always easy. It’s often time-consuming and frustrating. But making and keeping your well woman check could save your life.




Speculum with text Your Well Woman Check Could Save Your Life