This Mother’s Day, health experts encourage women to put their health first

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Mother’s Day on Sunday also marks the beginning of National Women’s Health Week.

Health experts in Minnesota say it’s a perfect time to remind the women you love to get their necessary checkups, which are becoming more commonly overlooked.

Dr. Sarah Schoel, chief of staff at Allina Health’s Mercy Hospital, said she’s seeing too many women who are putting their health second to others. The pandemic, she said, has made this problem even worse.

"I think we’ve spent the last year taking care of everybody else," Schoel said. "I know many women who’ve spent hours trying to get vaccine shots for their grandparents, for their parents and haven’t gotten a mammogram in over a year."

According to a survey from the Kasier Foundation, women are more likely than men to go without health care during the pandemic, which can translate to more women experiencing health issues.

Schoel said it is not uncommon to see women going six months to a year without routine preventative care such as scheduled mamograms, pap smears or HPV screenings.

"When women come in for preventative medicine appointments, we’re trying to keep you healthy as long as possible," Schoel said. "So prevent disease, prevent breast cancer or catch it earlier, cervical cancer, heart disease."

The National Institutes of Health report nearly 10,000 more people will die from breast and colorectal cancers because of disruptions from the pandemic.

Now that the country and state are beginning to come out of the pandemic, Schoel is encouraging women to put their health first.

"It’s important that we as women also take care of ourselves in addition to taking care of our loved ones," Schoel said.