FORT LEE, Va. -- During one week each May, health care providers observe National Women’s Health Week to remind women about the importance of taking care of their bodies.
National Women’s Health Week encourages and empowers women to make their health a priority through routine medical exams and preventive screenings, being active, paying attention to mental health and avoiding unhealthy activities.
Kenner Army Health Clinic welcomed beneficiaries Monday with a display of women’s health information and services available through the Women’s Health Clinic here or local network providers. The display included a National Go Red for Women advocate who promoted the nonprofit health education group’s current campaign titled “The Time is Now.”
The campaign encourages individuals to take a stand against heart disease by prompting healthy life choices.
Kim Parks, a certified nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health, said that everyone plays a role in supporting women and encouraging them to stay healthy.
“Women serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children and parents before their own,” Parks said. “As a result, women’s health and well-being becomes secondary. As health care professionals, we have a responsibility to support the women we know and do everything we can to help them take steps for longer, healthier, happier lives.”
Health Net Federal Services, the managed care support contractor for TRICARE North, offers wellness tips designed to enhance health and fitness. Specifically, the Disease Management Education Center at www.healthnet.com provides links to information and classes. The tele-classes require a brief registration for materials to be delivered to the patient’s home address and then on class day, simply call in and listen.
Women’s Health Week also promotes annual health screenings, including the Pap test, which can find changes in a woman’s cervix before cancer develops.
In 2010, the American Cancer Society estimated 12,200 new cases of diagnosed cervical cancer. Getting regular pap tests can detect cancer early, when it’s most responsive to treatment. Cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21. Women under 21 should not be tested.
Women between 21-29 should have a Pap test every three years. Now, there is also a test called the HPV test. However, HPV testing should not be used in this age group unless it is needed after an abnormal Pap test result.
Women 30-65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test (called “co-testing”) every five years. This is the preferred approach, but it is also OK to have a Pap test alone every three years.
A woman who has been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for her age group.
“Women and girls ages 13 and older are always welcome to make an appointment with Kenner’s Women’s Health providers for their health needs, even if they only have questions, said Parks. When calling for an appointment patients need to specify they wish to see someone in Women’s Health. The Health Team nurse can be reached at (804) 734-9230.
Some women – because of their history – may need to have a different screening scheduled for cervical cancer. It is important that every patient follow-up with their primary care manager to get test results.
Each month, KAHC reviews the needed health screenings of its patients. A staff member may talk with patients about the importance of regular medical screenings.
The team offers Pap smear testing, HPV co-testing, management of abnormal Pap smear results, breast exams and mammography, a wide variety of contraception options, pre-pregnancy health counseling, menopause management and acute gynecologic care for teenage through post-menopausal women. The 3, 5 and 10 year IUDs and Nexplanon™ are some long-term birth control options available from the Women’s Health team at Kenner.
To book an appointment, call (866) LEE KAHC or (866) 533-5242 or visit www.tricareonline.com.
Mary Ann Crispin, Disease Management Specialist