Although regular preventative healthcare and check-ups have been lower priority in the pandemic (understandably), checking in with your healthcare providers about your body (your pap smears! breast cancer screenings! anything else that you might be concerned about!) is important to make space for as you begin making tentative “normal” steps back into your routine. Chrissy Teigen — whose radical transparency about her body through modeling, childbirth, COVID-19 tests and recent surgeries on her breasts is always appreciated — shared a photo on Instagram of her latest round of preventative care — showing that it’s normal and important (albeit not so glamorous) to have a sit down with your doctor to make sure you aren’t missing something that’ll be a health concern down the line.
Cheerfully, Teigen captioned the post: “Don’t forget to keep up with your paps and have your boobs touched even though the world is ending!”
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Which is good advice! Your pap smear can check for anything “abnormal” and help you and your healthcare provider get a better picture over time of your health risks and needs. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends you get screened for cervical cancer every three years in women age 21 to 65 years via a pap smear every three years (or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every five years. In the U.S., HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (with data showing 42.5 percent of adults between ages 18 and 59 reporting an HPV infection between 2013 and 2014, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Fun fact: HPV is named for the warts that some of the more than 150 related viruses can cause. Though both men and women can get HPV, only women are tested regularly for it, as it can also cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers.
Unfortunately, in the United States there is a percentage of women who are uninsured (12.4 percent) and underinsured, who see increased difficulty in accessing preventative care for themselves and their families. So it’s not necessarily care that is possible for everyone — particularly during a pandemic with staggering unemployment statistics and rent about to be due.
As the Daily Mail reported, Teigen also wrote: “Please get it done if you have the luxury to (this f—ing country.)”