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The big picture, according to Dr Ann Tan, respected medical specialist at the Women & Fetal Centre @ Paragon, is the life cycle of a woman.

From age 15-21, a woman is beginning to move on from paediatrician care, and to ob/gyn services. Fertility management, as well as contraception and vaccines should be her primary health concerns.

From age 22-35, you would use primarily ob/gyn services. Contraception, pregnancy and childbirth issues dominate your healthcare concerns.

“In the twenties,” says Dr Tan, “women have varied wants wherein they want contraception and they’re always worried about infections. They ask can you screen me because I want to know if I’m okay.”
You would also need to prepare for the possibility of cervical cancer (even if vaccinated), sexually transmitted diseases, and other cancers that affect women, such as breast cancers.

From age 36-45, Dr Tan says “There would be the same worries in the 30s. After that, the menses would start to be a little bit more irregular perhaps, and fertility issues play a bigger role in the 30s to the early 40s.”
“Your 30s to 40s is also when you start having all your other gynae problems. You have more painful periods, you have erratic periods, you may have fibroids or cysts in your ovaries, or develop endometrosis.”

Also, did you know that in addition to these abnormal growths, heart disease should begin to become a main healthcare concern?

From age 45-55, “At this age, women should be on the look out for cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and accidents that can lead to bone fractures or breaks, especially if she has a family history of osteoporosis,” says Dr Tan.

She adds, “Mammograms are actually advised every year, from age 40 onwards. The highest risk of breast cancer occurs between 40 to 50. But if you’re younger than 40 and have no family history and no palpable lumps, you may want to do a screening ultrasound. If there’s any visible mass there, or a suspicious lump then you go ahead and do a mammogram.”
And those are the main the health problems you should look out for over their lifetime.

Care cycles: the smaller picture

Philips Healthcare believes that the life cycle should be integrated with the concept of care cycles. This smaller picture concept can help women manage and prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and cancers.
Says Suvendra Das, General Manager of Philips Healthcare, “A care cycle consists of prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, management and surveillance stages. Philips adopts the care cycle approach in finding solutions that can provide fast, accurate diagnoses; timely, precise treatment plans; shorter patient hospital stays & recovery; and improved long-term health & quality of life.”

Don’t wait till you’re done with everyone else to look out for yourself. See if you’re living the Philips Care Cycle as outlined here. LWB

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