"I found a small, pebble-like lump in my breast, so I'm going to make an appointment and get it checked out."
*Every three minutes, a woman in the US is diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Okay, so they found abnormal cells in my uterus, and I need to have a LEEP procedure."
*Sixty percent of sexually active women in the United States have HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer.
In the past two weeks, two women I love a tremendous amount have mentioned a women's health problem. One is more serious than the other as it involves surgery (and yes, I'm going along as a driver and moral support), and the other turned to be a normal fluctiation in the make-up of breast tissue.
Although this is a very personal topic for me, it's also something very REAL.
In America, most of us are fortunate enough to have some kind of medical coverage, whether it be through school, work, spouse, parents or government aid. Even those without coverage should have access to free clinics somewhere. Women: you have to get yourselves to the doctor on a regular basis.
Admittedly, I haven't been to see my ob/gyn since my follow-up appointment after I had a cyst (not a link to my actual type of cyst, as it was quite rare) removed from the webbing between my fallopian tube and my ovary nearly five years ago. I guess, in a way, I figure I've paid my dues and don't want to go through any more tests.
My friend's upcoming surgery has encouraged me to make the first steps towards making an appointment to get that dreaded exam. And my mother's discovery of a new lump has reminded me that I need to continue my monthly exam (my mom jokingly suggested I have WG do it, and you know, for some women that might be a more enticing option - get your man to examine your breasts for you!).
Here are a few more resources for thinking about women's health:
Women's Health Quiz
iVillage Ob/Gyn health center
National Women's Health Information Center
And if you're interested in getting the information out to less fortunate parts of the world, check out these sites:
Global Health Council
Global Alliance for Women's Health
Women's Global Health Imperative
Get thee to the ob/gyn!