HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It's National Women's Health Week and local doctors are urging ladies to take better care of their bodies.
"Prevention is much easier to handle than treating an actual problem," said Family Nurse Practitioner Selena Clearman of the Wesley Medical Center.
She said women can use their age as a guide to the screenings they should be getting each year.
"At the age of 21 we recommend that women start their annual pap screenings that helps test for cervical cancer," she said. "The risk of cervical cancer starts at the age of 21 because you're sexually active, most women are by then, and are in relationships."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer death 40 years ago for women. However, that has changed because more women are getting pap tests.
"We want to make sure that we find those abnormal pap test as early as possible so that the right treatment can be given to the patient," she said.
Clearman said at the age of 35 women should start getting a yearly mammogram to check for breast cancer.
"If she has a family history of breast cancer she may want to talk to her doctor about getting that sooner," she said.
Self examinations are also important.
"I encourage all women to do that even my teenage girls," said Clearman. "Just looking for lumps and bumps that aren't normally there."
For women 50 and older, Clearman said it's important to have a colonoscopy every five to 10 years.
"Routine screenings allows you to get to know your body," she said.