Why are health screenings important?

Today, nearly 100 percent of women who find breast or cervical cancer early survive it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, yet many women have no symptoms until the disease has progressed.
The best way to find cancer and heart disease early is to make sure you get routine health screenings for breast and cervical cancer or heart disease.
Why is finding breast cancer early so important?
  • Ninety-eight percent of women survive breast cancer when it's found early through regular screenings.
  • Most breast cancers take years to develop.
  • Early on, most breast cancers don’t cause any physical symptoms, so without a screening, there’s no way of knowing you have it.
  • When breast cancer is found early, it doesn’t get a chance to spread to other places.
Why is finding cervical cancer early so important?
  • Ninety-two percent of women survive cervical cancer when it’s found early through routine tests.
  • A Pap test can find abnormal cervical cells years before they turn into cervical cancer cells. The abnormal cells can be treated so that they never turn into cervical cancer.
  • Getting a Pap and/or HPV test every three to five years can help you detect and even prevent cancer of the cervix.
Why is finding heart disease early so important?
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54 percent of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among Hispanic women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For American Indian or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  • Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.
  • Women can reduce their risk for heart disease-related illness and death by addressing risk factors such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, inactivity, diabetes, and smoking.
There’s no reason to wait. Getting regular health screenings may save your life. Women’s Wellness Connection and WISEWOMAN provide free health screenings to those who qualify and can help you on the path to treatment.