Gynaecologist highlights significance of early first visit

May 18, 2011

Young women should make their first visit to an obstetrician or gynaecologist for screening and prevention care between the ages of 13 and 15, a Qatar gynaecologist has advised.

Dr Naseem Rashid, a consultant gynaecologist and community physician at Al Ahli Hospital in Qatar, said that girls needed to be acquainted with the doctor early to find out what they are expected to do.

“Regular health examinations and tests can help find problems before they start,” she told a women’s health symposium as she spoke about various periodic health examinations that women of all ages should undergo. “They also can help detect health problems early, when the chances for treatment are better,” she said, quoted by Qatar Tribune.

The symposium, “Screening before and after 40/Staying healthy at all ages”, was organised by the Qatar Professional Women’s Network (QPWN) and Al Ahli Hospital.

Naseem said that women should have their first mammogram at age of 40 and yearly from the age of 50. Women with a family history of breast cancer may have a baseline mammogram even before the age of 40.

“Besides general check-up, women must also go for the pelvic/internal examination to check if internal female organs are normal,” she said.

A pap test is another recommendation test to check for cervical cancer.

“Other tests include clinical breast screening to check for breast cancer, thyroid gland examination and HPV test,” she said.

“Girls aged between 13 and 18 years should go for immunisations against Rubella, Hepatitis A and B and have the flu shot and HPV vaccine.

Women in the reproductive age of 19 to 39 years must have their routine physical examinations as well as periodic laboratory tests such as pap smear/pap test, and immunisations for HPV/DNA and German measles.

“They can also start having high risk assessments such as bone thinning (osteoporosis) testing, bowel cancer screening, breast cancer screening and tests on thyroid hormones, blood sugar, TB, haemoglobin, blood cholesterol, sexually transmitted infections and genetic testing,” she said. “Women between the ages of 40 and 64 years as well as those 65 and above must continue their routine physical exams, periodic lab tests and high risk assessments in addition to evaluation and counseling.”

Blood pressure must be monitored from the age of 18 and be continued at least every two years, she said.

Naseem urged women to conduct cholesterol test regularly from the age of 20, while routine colonoscopy for colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) should begin at the age of 50.

“To stay healthy at all ages, eat a healthy and balanced diet, be active and have at least two and a half hours of physical activity per week. Protect yourself by taking care of your heart,” she said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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