It’s no surprise that men and women have different health worries. But post-menopausal women have specific concerns.
“In the United States, it’s about 51, 52 is about when most women will go through menopause,” said Dr. Jim Bosscher. He’s a gynecologic oncologist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, who also sees patients in Scranton and Danville. He met with us to discuss five important things women need to remember as they age.
“The biggest question I get is, do I still need to get a pap smear? The recommendation is that they get them yearly starting at 21 until they’re 65,” he said.
After 65, Dr. Bosscher thinks pap smears aren’t as necessary as long as a patient has had three normal results in ten years, particularly if those normal results came in the last five years, but it is important to continue with regular pelvic exams, which is the first of the five.
Number two is colonoscopies. Colon cancer becomes more common as women age. The recommendation is a colonoscopy every ten years unless otherwise directed. Number three is being up to date on general health vaccines, including flu and shingles.
“They have all been shown to be very successful in incidence of preventing these diseases.”
Number four is mammograms.
“They should be basically obtained after age 50, between 40-49 a good time to get mammogram on every year or every other yearly basis,” said Dr. Bosscher. He recommends yearly mammograms up to age 70, or older if directed.
Number five is keeping up with your health in general: quit smoking, exercise, and watch your diet more than ever.
“I think as you get older, your immune system is less successful at fighting infection. You need to do what you can to prevent infection,” Dr. Bosscher noted.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but he says it addresses some of his patients top concerns.