By Hannah Cressy
Most people know that regular check-ins with their care provider can improve their health. In addition to discussing important information about general health and wellness, these visits also provide an opportunity to screen for certain cancers that are often highly treatable if detected early.
Many guidelines for pelvic and breast/chest cancer screening only reference cis women & men (people who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth), leaving out those who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary (people who do not exclusively identify with the sex they were assigned at birth). Cancer screenings are important for everyone, and are determined based on body parts rather than by gender identity.
Pelvic Health & Prostate
Pelvic health screenings help to ensure that the organs associated with the reproductive system are healthy. For people with ovaries and/or a uterus, it is important to check in regularly with a provider like a Certified Nurse Midwife or Ob/Gyn to discuss pelvic health. Though reproductive health visits don’t always include a pelvic exam, a provider can help patients detect abnormal bleeding or other concerning symptoms.
Regular pap tests and/or human papillomavirus (HPV) testing are recommended for anyone with a cervix. This testing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to screen for cervical cancer, which is highly treatable when it is detected early. Prostate cancer screenings may be considered for those with a prostate, including cis men and trans women.
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For people with breast tissue, providers can help recognize concerning symptoms, including skin changes, lumps, or changes in chest/breast size and shape. While annual clinical chest/breast exams are no longer standard for younger people, it can be difficult to know what is “normal” and is important to see a provider familiar with chest/breast health regularly to discuss any new symptoms or changes.
Mammogram screening is generally recommended beginning between ages 40-50, though screening may be recommended earlier based on family history and other factors. Mammograms can detect abnormal tissue and are an invaluable tool in detecting chest/breast cancer before it progresses.
Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also increase a person’s risk for developing cancer. By practicing safer sex and getting screened regularly for STIs, people can reduce their risk of developing certain cancers and can ensure that their health and the health of their partners is a long-term priority.
Our providers are dedicated to keeping all bodies healthy; speak to your care provider about some or all of these screenings to ensure that you are doing all you can to protect your health.
Hannah Cressy is a Certified Nurse Midwife at Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery. Specializing in reproductive and sexual health, Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery offers preventive care for all ages and identities. Located at 21 Belmont Avenue, the practice can be reached at (802) 251-9965.
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