A survey by The Woman's Hospital of Texas found that despite the urging of local physicians, close to 40 percent of Houston women do not see a doctor for an annual wellness exam, even though a multitude of diseases, including breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, can be detected at an early stage.
The conclusion is among several findings from a recent survey of 1,500 Houstonians by HCA-affiliated The Woman’s Hospital of Texas to determine how women view their health and the health of others in their families.
Among the survey findings:
- 63% of women surveyed view the health of a family member as more important than their own
- 38% of the respondents get a wellness exam every 2 - 4 years or they can’t remember when they last had a physical
- 85% of the respondents say they are the person in the family who schedules doctor appointments
- 1 in 5 have at some point in their life hesitated to seek health advice because they were embarrassed or afraid to ask
“Without question, we know that many women are the Chief Medical Officers of their families,” notes Dr. Lisa Beard, an ob/gyn on staff at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas. “But as the survey results show, while women often direct their attention to the wellness of others, they don’t always place a priority on their own healthcare needs.”
Particularly troubling is the percentage of women surveyed who neglect an annual wellness exam.
“Chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes typically have few obvious symptoms, but can be detected early with regular screenings” she says. “Regardless of one’s stage in life, early detection increases treatment options and a woman’s chances for survival.”
By prioritizing their own care, Dr. Beard adds, women can do more than just improve their own health.
“We want to empower women to improve the care of those they care for by being better role models for others in their family,” she says.
Those looking for a doctor in their community can call The Woman’s Hospital of Texas free physician referral line, 281-GET-HELP.