In asymptomatic non pregnant females, my diagnoses have included cervical cancer in an 80 year old, ovarian cancer in a 20 year old, massive uterine fibroid tumor in a 40 year old. The routine pelvic exam was able to detect these malignant and pre-malignant conditions before they became life threatening. Early detection allowed these ladies to escape the perilous pitfalls of cancer. In these cases simple surgery was the cure. They remained asymptomatic and cancer free by continuing with their routine pelvic exam and checkup.
Without symptoms may appear to indicate a disease free state, but often times it reveals disease. It is up to patients and their health care providers to include routine exams in their health care plan. Routine can be yearly, every other year or two, or less frequently depending on the patients medical history. Routine evaluation and assessment is based on each individual.
Routine pelvic exam guidelines are just that, suggested recommendations that should be considered. For this doctor and many others, especially women, routine pelvic exams will still be part of a well woman visit as deemed necessary. The schedule is as follows:
- 18 - 20 first pelvic exam, sooner if sexually active and/or symptomatic
- 20 - 60 pelvic exam every year to every other year unless symptomatic
- 60 - life pelvic exam every 2-3 years unless symptomatic