The Obstetrician–Gynecologist’s Role in Screening and Preventive Care
As the population ages, the health care needs of A women will change, and thus the provision of pri-mary and preventive care in the obstetric and gynecologic setting must evolve to meet these needs. The obstetrician–gynecologist is in a unique position to provide screening, preventive care, and counseling to women that can have a positive impact on morbidity and mortality.
Preventive care is beneficial and cost-effective over time. Preventive medicine encompasses both primary and second prevention. In primary prevention, an attempt is made to eliminate risk factors for disease and thus prevent its occurrence. Primary prevention may include health edu-cation and behavioral interventions to promote a healthier lifestyle, including fitness and nutrition, hygiene, smoking cessation, personal safety, and sexuality. It also includes im-munizations. Secondary prevention focuses on screeningtests for diseases that are performed at an early and usuallyasymptomatic stage, allowing prompt intervention that re-duces morbidity and mortality. Screening tests are per-formed as part of periodic health assessments that afford an opportunity to evaluate and counsel patients based on their age and risk factors.