Letter to the Editor: Women reminded to get annual health screenings this week

Dear Editor:
National Women’s Health Week runs May 10-16, and women are reminded to have health screens this week every year.

Women are often the caregivers of the family. After taking care of kids, spouses, aging parents or even friends, women sometimes forget to take care of themselves.
Each year, Mother’s Day kicks off National Women’s Health Week, a time for women to focus on their own health and take steps to stay as healthy as they can be.
Some of the suggestions for living a longer, healthier life include:
Healthy Eating: A healthy diet reduces your risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Aim for at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily, drink plenty of water and try to avoid empty calories like sodas and sweets;
Active Living: Did you know that just 30 minutes of brisk walking each day can lower your risk of breast cancer? Walk, bike, dance, swim—it doesn’t matter what you choose, just get moving;
Mental Health: There is a strong connection between mental and physical health. Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, maintaining a strong social network and managing your stress with healthy interventions like exercise or meditation instead of alcohol or overeating; and
Yearly Wellness Exams: This yearly visit is an opportunity to discuss family history, address any changes in your health and take care of all recommended health screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women continue cervical cancer screening until at least age 65. Because increasing age is the greatest risk factor for both breast and colorectal cancer, these screenings should continue for as long as a person is in good health.
Women, take action this week to protect your health. For more information, or to take the National Women’s Health Week pledge, go to womenshealth.gov/nwhw.
Karen Forest
American Cancer Society