Too busy to make a doctor’s appointment? Think the pain will go away? Women often ignore their health in the busy worlds they have helped create for themselves and their families.
Dr. Peter Edelstein, a surgeon and patient advocate who recently published a new book, “Own Your Cancer: A Take-Charge Guide for the Recently Diagnosed and Those Who Love Them” (Lyons Press), said in a news release there are four things he wished women knew before their health needlessly declined.
“Overly busy women often put their own health concerns on the back burner,” Edelstein said. “That is the biggest mistake you can make.” He said women need to:
1. Honor symptoms: New or worsening chronic symptoms – a new breast lump, changing mole or worsening shortness of breath – must not be ignored “until there is time.” Go see your doctor!
2. Speak up: While it may be difficult to overcome the tendency to follow your physician’s advice without question, women must speak up, asking questions and challenging recommendations and referrals that aren’t clear or don’t feel right. You must own your health.
3. Follow through: The first two recommendations are no good if you don’t follow through with plans you make with your physician partner (X-rays, consultations, studies) because, again, you feel you must prioritize family or work activities over your health.
4. Think broadly: It’s about more than breast cancer. Many women also suffer from colon and rectal cancer, so don’t put off your colonoscopy. Women also must recognize heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women too, and that they often experience different heart attack symptoms than the classic male crushing chest and left arm pain.