Gyno doesn’t have to mean “oh no”

By Ann Varner

Over the years,  I’ve often mentioned having to go to my gynecologist to my friends and, much to my surprise, found my friends were not seeing a gyno even though they were either A. over 21 or B. under 21 but sexually active.

I was alarmed that they didn’t know it’s necessary to go to the gynecologist for much more than birth control or STD testing. Most didn’t know that it’s incredibly important to go for women wellness checkups, where the gynecologist will screen for breast cancer and do a pap smear to check for cervical cancer.

No, it doesn’t sound fun to have your most intimate parts poked and prodded by a doctor, but it is necessary. Screening for any issues that we may not be able to find ourselves is of the utmost importance to ensure we, as women, are taking care of ourselves.

We don’t need to go to the doctor only to cure an illness, preventative care can help to catch an illness early or keep it from happening at all. According to The American Cancer Society, 93 percent of women who become aware of cervical cancer in its earliest stage have a five-year survival rate, as compared to 16 percent who realize cancer at its most advanced stage.  Even more encouraging, when people detect breast cancer early on, this survival rate jumps to nearly 100 percent. With numbers like these, the significance of checkups can’t be overestimated.

There are many gynecologists out there, so you can have your preference of men or women. If you don’t have insurance, there free health clinics and Planned Parenthood offer these checkups.

I promise, it isn’t that bad. It definitely isn’t as bad as finding out you have cervical, ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer in the later stages. Take charge of your health.