Dr. Savard, maybe you can put it in perspective. So now there's a little check box for our female listeners over 30, and they're saying okay, ask about the HPV test, that's part of me making sure that I can look out for these illnesses that otherwise can develop. So, HPV test or maybe HPV test and Pap smear. Let's just reinforce the other ones that you're always recommending. What about breast mammography and what about maybe starting at age 50, or if there's a family history staring earlier, colposcopy. Let's give us our whole picture here along with other's you would mention too.
Right. Women in their 20s, breast exam with their doctor every year and getting that Pap test. That's what you need. Women in their 30s need to ask about the HPV test along with the Pap test, continue the breast exam, and continue to talk to their doctor about heart disease risk and cholesterol and blood pressure and all the things that should be done as well. Women who hit 40 and over need to add a mammogram along with the breast exam, and if they have really dense, lumpy breasts, they ought to talk about the digital mammogram. That's an even better one. It's like a digital camera with a better photograph, especially with lumpy breasts it's a good test. It's not available everywhere. Mammogram is great, digital maybe even better, and then at age 50, as you mentioned, that's when the colonoscopy, starting to check the colon, kicks in. Every woman and man, for that matter, should ask for a colonoscopy. Obviously women who have a family history and men as well, they need to get a colonoscopy even earlier. Not until you're 60 should women start thinking about things like a bone density test, check their bones, have an eye exam, do again more cholesterol and heart disease screening, etc. So, each decade we need to kind of add to the list of things we need to get on a regular basis to do everything we can to catch disease early, stay in control of our health, and really make all the difference in the world.
So much of it is preventable. So much we have to eat right and exercise, all those other things, manage stress, all the things we can do on a daily basis, but also then use this to prevent; I know many cancers can be prevented.
Jodie, you came through this experience, so how has that changed you as far as the way you look out for yourself and advocate for yourself?
Definitely it has changed my whole thought process going through this whole dilemma. I definitely am more aware of what I need to do when I go in for different checkups and questions to ask. I was always the quiet one who just kind of went in and did her thing and left, and now I've become so; my friends are just astonished that I would even be doing this right now. I'm kind of a behind the scenes kind of girl. So, it definitely made me come to the forefront and definitely I have heard many, many stories in the last year of people who because their doctors did not make that little check in the box and let them have that HPV or didn't offer it, they had to go through the whole cervical cancer and the chemo and everything else, so I was very, very fortunate that I got the test, I caught it early, and I did not have to go down that road. So, I've just heard so many stories of this simple thing. One thing I want to make your listeners aware of that it is just a check in the box (when you have your Pap test). When you get your HPV test, it's not an extra procedure when you go in for your checkup. It is all included in on the same sample, and the test is a separate test in the lab. So, it's not like that your patients would have to go through an extra procedure. It is all included. So, it's not any extra time in your checkup. It's all included in, and it could save your life. It saved me from having a lot more procedures done and just more time away from my family, so I was very lucky I had a quick recovery, and I was up and running by a couple of days later, and also I am a nonsmoker. I have been married for 18 years. So, it's definitely a kind of disease that you would get from having different partners and being involved any way that way, and I think the doctor could probably verify that for you.
And definitely ask. Ask for the HPV test. It could really save your life and your friends' lives. Make sure everybody out there understands that.