Women’s Health: Know the Importance of Regular Gynecologic Screening

You might wonder why it’s important for women to understand the significance of regular screenings. Regular screening for gynecologic cancers is essential for women’s health. September is gynecologic and ovarian cancer awareness month. It is important to spread the word and educate women about the different gynecologic cancers. 

These cancers, such as ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers, often start quietly and may not have noticeable symptoms in their early stages.  

This makes them tricky to detect, but regular screening can help catch potential problems early on. 

The Power of Early Detection 

Many gynecological cancers, such as cervical cancer, can present with vague or no symptoms in the early stages. This makes it important to get regular screening tests, which can help detect cancer early, when it is more treatable. 

The recommended screening schedule for cervical cancer is every three years starting at age 21.  

If the results are normal, you can then switch to screening every five years starting at age 30. However, if you have any risk factors for cervical cancer, including family history, you may need to be screened more often. 

Other gynecological cancers, such as ovarian cancer, do not have routine  screening tests for women without any symptoms. However, it is still important to talk to your provider about your risk factors and whether or not you should undergo further physical exams and diagnostic tests.  

The Role of Your Health Care Provider 

Your PA, or other health care provider, is a valuable resource for information about gynecologic cancers and screening. Talk to your provider about your family medical history. This can play a vital role in identifying potential health risks, including cancer. By sharing your family history with your health care provider, they can better understand your individual risk factors and recommend preventive measures or early detection screenings. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of different screening tests and develop a screening plan that is right for you. 

I also want to remind all women to not hesitate to raise questions or concerns about any symptoms you think you might be experiencing, especially considering that some of the symptoms aren’t very distinctive. It’s important that you take charge of your health, and we as health care providers are here to advocate for you. I’m personally honored to play a role in enhancing the lives of women everywhere. 

The journey to safeguarding your health is one of partnership between you and your health care provider. By working together, you can make informed decisions about your health and take steps to protect yourself from gynecologic cancers. 

Take Action  

Don’t wait to take action to safeguard your health. Talk to your health care provider about regular screening for gynecologic cancers. Together, you can make a difference in your health and well-being. 


Picture of Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C

Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C

Karen Finklea, DMSc, PA-C, is a physician assistant at Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester, NY. In 2023, she was awarded the Association of Physician Associates in Obstetrics and Gynecology Preceptor of the Year Award. She is also a member of the NYSSPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Jordan's Cultural Competency Committee.