As you know, March is being celebrated as women’s month. So this week’s show of Healthy Living is dedicated to highlighting the top five medical tests that women should get done to stay healthy; from cancer to mammograms.

Marleni Cuellar reporting

Women are the wives, the mothers, grandmothers, caretakers, breadwinners and even role models of our Belizean society. We hold many different roles and unfortunately sometimes health often takes a back seat to our families and careers. While a doctor visit may never make it as priority on our list of things to do, Obstetrician& Gynecologist, Dr Alba Mendez Sosa, explains at least five tests that every women should consider and how it may save your life.

Alba Mendez Sosa

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa, Obstetrician & Gynecologist

“The women is affected immediately in the health sense but all of the family is affected because if women no function the rest of the family no function properly.”

According to Dr Mendez-Sosa women who access care are usually seeking treatment for a special condition. This is why her recommendation for top 5 medical tests covers all age groups of women. Test 1 is the S.T.D. test.

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“One of the very important consultations is for S.T.D.s. Test for S.T.D.s that are important and we try at the same time we do the consultation we try go a little bit more deep on how much knowledge they have with these types of conditions that expose our youths and women to problems in a short future. Most of the times when they are sexually active, this is the time that they are exposed to this pathology and they require the check up. The checkup is not just the physical evaluation and that’s it. The check up is evaluate the patient, but evaluate the knowledge in the areas that they are exposed and try that they have the orientation how they can prevent all of these conditions.”

S.T.D.’s can range from H.P.V. which shows no signs and lead to cancer to HIV which most people are aware of its consequences. TEST 2 is the Pap smear.

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“In the last report the Dangriga cancer center made generally they expose that fifty percent of the cancer in female are cervical and breast cancer and this alarming really because cervical cancer is a preventable condition. Pap smear is a simple test that can prevent and save so many lives and unfortunately at this point we continue lose so many lives and left alone so many kids in this country. Women start having sex from as early as 12/13 therefore recommendation is as follows from this point of view we working that after at least one or two years after start the sexual life we recommend that they start to make the complete check up.”

Keeping in line with preventable Cancers TEST 3 is a mammogram.

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“We put a little bit more focus on women’s after forty years. Why, because that is when some special conditions start to manifest. One of the next things that we try to look into is the next preventable disease which is the breast cancer. One of the more frequent reason people die from cancer in this country. From this point of view we conserve the same screening and same age that the American cancer center recommends that is from forty years and more. Except in a patient that have family or parents or sisters or aunties that have breast cancer and look at this youngest one and based on this we take special consideration. But in general we begin at forty years old to do mammogram screening.”

The next test is important for both genders and is health concern for all of Belize. A Lipids test is Test 4.

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“It is not a secret that we have higher index in the cardio vascular disease. And generally one of the next recommendation is looking at all of this risk factors that we have high incidences of high cholesterol, triglycerides and generally can predispose to problems in the future like cardiovascular disease, hypertension and general problem. This is something that id catch in time, you can advise to the patient how to prevent when they can start to receive the treatment in trying to decrease all of these chronic conditions. Most of the time we send routinely after forty but in this period we see young people with high cholesterol and triglycerides and we start to decrease the age for this lipid profile.”

TEST 5 looks at the elderly population and what makes women after their reproductive period more susceptible: The Bone Density Test

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“We looking at bone density. The bone density is one the tests that measure the amount of minerals that we have in our bones. The special situation is that we have some conditions that can affect the absorption of calcium. Generally after menopause this absorption reduces and our hormones that help us in the reproductive time to absorb better the calcium start to stop the release of the hormones and this reduce the amount of calcium by the bone.”

Bone density test is recommended for after 65. All tests can be conducted in Belize. Some like pap smears and some blood work is conducted for free at some clinics. The others like mammograms are a worthy investment and only necessary once a year and in the case of the bone density tests only once if the results are good. And the final advice is one we hear with every health discussion we address: Exercise.

Dr. Alba Mendez Sosa

“Women no have one responsibility in life women have responsibility in work, home and homework of the kids. That is a basically so many things that come together and additionally if women no take care of themselves and invest in thirty minutes in physical activity then all of these problems start to increase.”

Channel 5