These 5 essential health checks are non-negotiable, ladies – here’s where to go and how much they cost

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  • Healthcare professionals recommend certain annual health screenings for all women.
  • These tests are critical to a woman's health, as they can detect possible problems early on.
  • Many clinics across South Africa offer these services: we give you a detailed breakdown, including costs.

Eating healthily, exercising regularly and managing stress are all necessary to play an active role in your health and wellness. 

For women, however, there are also critical health tests that can detect potential health problems early and while they’re still treatable.

We understand that juggling office work and family life can make it tough to keep up with appointments, so to make your life easier, we’ve broken down the different tests, where you can get them done, and how much they cost.

Blood pressure screening

High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is a serious medical condition that can lead to other complications. 

Although it’s a major cause of premature death worldwide, nearly half of adults with the condition aren’t even aware that they are living with it. For this reason, annual screening is recommended.

Where you can go 

Dis-Chem Pharmacy: nurse practitioners are available by appointment. Book online or call the clinic’s call centre on 086 111 7427.

Clicks Clinic: Call 0860 254 257 to make a booking or visit Clicks Clinics online.

What to expect: The healthcare provider will use a device called a sphygmomanometer (or Baumanometer) to measure your blood pressure. A diagnosis of hypertension, or high blood pressure, is made if your blood pressure is higher than 140/90. 

Cost:

  • R70 at Dis-Chem
  • R36 at Clicks

Cholesterol test

This test will assess your risk for developing heart disease or stroke. 

Many women are at risk for high cholesterol and don’t realise it, says Dr Erin Donnelly Michos from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Approximately 45% of women over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl and above, which is considered elevated,” she says.

As explained by Pharma Dynamics, this test should be done every five years from around the age of 20. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease in your family, you should have it done more regularly. 

Where you can go 

Dis-Chem Pharmacy: Nurse practitioners are available by appointment. Book online or call the clinic’s call centre on 086 111 7427.

Clicks Clinic: Call 0860 254 257 to make a booking or visit Clicks Clinics online.

What to expect: A nurse practitioner will draw your blood using a needle and collect it in a vial. The test only takes a couple of minutes.

Cost: 

  • R120 at Dis-Chem
  • R93 at Clicks

HIV screening

South Africa carries the largest share of the global HIV/Aids burden. Considering this, it is recommended that screening for HIV be done at least once a year.

Where you can go 

Dis-Chem Pharmacy: nursing practitioners are available by appointment. Book online or call the clinic’s call centre on 086 111 7427.

Clicks Clinic: Call 0860 254 257 to make a booking or visit Clicks Clinics online.

Marie Stopes: Call 0800 11 77 85 or make a booking online.  

What to expect: Using a small needle, a healthcare professional will draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm.

Cost: 

  • R200 for a test and consultation at Dis-Chem
  • R170 at Clicks
  • R1 500 at Marie Stopes, which includes an  HIV test (rapid test), STI screening, and pap smear

Pap smear

This test detects and diagnoses cervical cancer by testing for the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells in the opening of the uterus or cervix.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally. There were an estimated 604 000 new cases and 342 000 deaths in 2020 alone. 

But it is preventable and can be cured if diagnosed early and treated promptly. A Pap test is recommended every three years, from age 25 to 65, regardless of sexual history.

Where you can go 

Dis-Chem Pharmacy: nursing practitioners are available by appointment. Book online or call the clinic’s call centre on 086 111 7427.

Clicks Clinic: Call 0860 254 257 to make a booking or visit Clicks Clinics online.

Marie Stopes: Call 0800 11 77 85 or make a booking online

What to expect: "Your doctor will take cells from your cervix with a small brush, which then gets sent to a lab for analysis. There, they will look for changes or abnormalities that may lead to cervical cancer," says Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics.

Cost: 

  • R210 at Dis-Chem for the month of August
  • R260 at Clicks for the month of August
  • R700 at Marie Stopes (Well Woman Option 2), which includes a breast exam, pap smear and contraceptive consultation

Breast examination

It is recommended that women do a breast self-exam every month to determine if the breasts feel normal or abnormal, but a healthcare professional can also do this for you.

Where you can go 

Dis-Chem Pharmacy: nursing practitioners are available by appointment. Book online or call the clinic’s call centre on 086 111 7427.

Clicks Clinic: Call 0860 254 257 to make a booking or visit Clicks Clinics online.

Marie Stopes: Call 0800 11 77 85 or make a booking online

What to expect: A healthcare professional will manually check your breasts for differences in size or shape, rashes and lumps. They may also check to see if your nipples produce fluid when gently squeezed.

Cost:

  • R210 at Dis-Chem: this includes a Pap smear. The campaign will run from 8 August-16 September 2022.
  • R67 at Clicks
  • R700 at Marie Stopes (Well Woman Option 2), which includes a breast exam, pap smear and contraceptive consultation

Remember, if you have any health concerns, it’s important to discuss these with your healthcare provider.

Additional reporting by Nikita Coetzee


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