Women’s Health Week: Common diseases and screening tests

woman at doctor with test results

National Women’s Health Week is an annual initiative driven by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that aims to raise awareness and encourage women to make their health a priority. While finding the time and resources to properly manage one’s health may feel overwhelming, there are many actionable ways women can take to manage and improve their individual health. Read on for more about common diseases impacting women, and screening and diagnostic tests that can help women manage their health throughout their lives.

Daily Decisions: Actions to Improve Overall Health

  • Opt for more physical activity – at least 150 minutes weekly
  • Choose healthy food options – select whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep – it’s not always easy, but setting a sleep goal can help
  • Practice safe and healthy behaviors – including not smoking and practicing safe sex
  • Engage with a healthcare provider – schedule an annual wellness visits and stay up-to-date with preventive screenings and vaccines 

Beyond improving daily habits and making the decision to practice healthy strategies, there are conditions and common diseases that women should be aware of and monitor as every woman’s risk profile is different. Having candid, open discussions with a healthcare provider and sharing concerns can help healthcare providers and patients collaborate on what might be the best healthcare management options. In addition to well-woman exams and preventative screenings, they may order laboratory testing to help get a better picture of a patients overall health.

Facts on Heart Disease in Women1

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. – responsible for 1 in 3 deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association.
  • Only 44% of women recognize heart disease as their number one health threat.
  • Most cardiac (and stroke) events can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices and education.

Facts on Common Cancers Impacting Women

  • Breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, skin, ovarian, and cervical cancers are the cancers that affect women most often, according to the American Cancer Society.2
  • Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S.2
  • Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection (STI).3

Facts on Diabetes in Women4

  • Approximately 15 million women – about 1 in 9 adult women – in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
  • Women of certain racial and ethnic groups – American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, and Asian – are at greater risk.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease by about 4 times in women, (but only about 2 times in men.)5 Stroke, blindness, problems during pregnancy, and kidney failure can also be caused by diabetes.

More on HPV and Cervical Cancer Screening

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI)7. There are many different types of HPV and some types can cause health problems, including cervical cancer, which can take years or even decades to develop after a patient contracts HPV. However, not every HPV-positive woman will develop cervical cancer, and CINTec® PLUS Cytology is a new triage test available at BioReference® Health that can determine a patient’s individual risk level and if they would benefit from more immediate follow-up.

CINtec® PLUS Cytology Test

CINtec® PLUS Cytology uses dual-stain biomarker technology to simultaneously detect p16 and Ki-67 in women with HPV-positive results. The presence of both biomarkers, p16 and Ki-67, within the same cell is a strong indicator that an HPV infection is undergoing oncogenic transformation. The dual-stain biomarker test allows a treating healthcare provider to more accurately and quickly assess the risk for cervical pre-cancer in patients. Learn more about the test here, and if you are an ordering healthcare provider, take a listen on ReachMD as Dr. Tamera Paczos, Chief Laboratory Officer of BioReference Health, sits down with Jennifer Caudle, DO to discuss The Value of CINtec® PLUS Cytology Test in Cervical Cancer Screening.

GenPath® Women’s Health 

GenPath® Women’s Health, a division of BioReference Health, empowers women to make the most informed healthcare decisions through every stage of life. GenPath has become one of the premier women’s health specialty laboratory divisions in the country, offering innovative testing solutions in wellness and preventive screening, sexual health and cervical cancer screening, reproductive health and genetics, as well as hereditary cancer screening.  

GenPath encourages women to schedule their annual wellness visits. Routine screenings and exams performed by a healthcare provider can help prevent health problems before they begin. If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious risks to a health. Click here for more information about GenPath and test offerings.  


  1. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts#
  2. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/cancer-facts/cancer-facts-for-women.html
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/index.htm
  4. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/diabetes
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-women.html
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7117e1.htm?s_cid=mm7117e1_w
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm