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Dr. Geoff’s Women’s MLK & Black History Month Check List:

5 Examinations for Women:

As an emergency medicine physician I am OFTEN asked, “what is the worst thing you have ever seen”. The question is a great conversation piece but does not really help anyone. The question I am asked by close friends is “what medical test/screenings do I need to get done?” I am not a primary care doctor but the following is what I tell my wife, daughter, sisters and other family members. I also told them to celebrate Black History Month by getting the right tests during the month. Black History means celebrating Black Future by taking care of ourselves.

1. Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear – A pelvic exam is performed to do a pap smear, to prepare for some types of birth control, or to evaluate a problem. The pelvic exam may have three main parts — inspection, speculum exam, and bimanual exam. The Pap Smear is a screening test for cancer of the cervix, and for changes of the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer.

Combining a Pap test with a human papillomavirus, (HPV) test is essential.

2. Breast Exam AND mammogram – Breast examinations can detect a lump in your breast and other changes that might require more testing. Breast exams are one of the most important early breast cancer screenings. Mammography uses low-dose x-rays to examine your breasts. Annual mammograms (also called screening mammograms) have been shown to significantly reduce the number of women age 40 and older who die from breast cancer.

3. Screening Colonoscopy – A colonoscopy is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

4. Blood Pressure Check – A blood pressure reading less than 120 (systolic) over less than 80 (diastolic) is considered normal. Readings above 120/80 may indicate pre-hypertension. Most people cannot tell if their blood pressure is high because there are usually no symptoms. High blood pressure increases the risk of:
1. Heart failure
2. Heart attack
3. Stroke
4. Kidney failure
If you have high blood pressure, blood pressure measurements can help determine if your medicine and diet changes are working. Low blood pressure may be a sign of a variety of illnesses, including heart failure, infection, gland disorders, and dehydration.

5. Fasting Cholesterol Profile – A complete cholesterol test also called a lipid panel or lipid profile, is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body. A cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Dr. Geoff’s 5 test for woman:

• Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear Date to be completed_____________
• Breast Exam AND mammogram Date to be completed_____________
• Screening Colonoscopy( if over the age 45) Date to be completed_____________
• Blood Pressure Check Date to be completed_____________
• Fasting Cholesterol Profile Date to be completed_____________
• Weight – step on a scale Date to be completed_____________

These are recommendations that I give to my family. The information is not intended to be used as medical recommendations. Please discuss with your primary care doctor or a physician in the state where you reside.


Dr. Geoffrey Varner Author of the best seller, Home Alive 11 Must Steps for Surviving Police Encounters.