Your spring wellbeing checklist

12 September 2022
By Fashion Quarterly

Take your wellbeing into your own hands with this helpful checklist of regular health check-ups you should schedule in with your doctor this spring.

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash


Breast Health

Regardless of your age, it’s important to be familiar with what’s normal for your breasts, and it’s a good idea to start monthly breast exams from the age of 20. According to Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, the best time to check your breasts is following the week of your period, as menstruation-related hormonal fluctuations can cause breasts to become tender and lumpy.

Regular mammograms — every two years — are vital, and are free in Aotearoa for those aged between 45 and 69 years of age. And remember, if you find something that’s not normal for you, don’t wait for your next mammogram; schedule an appointment with your GP.

Frequency: every month at home and every two years for mammograms.

Skin Check

Due to Aotearoa’s position right under the thinnest part of the ozone layer, we’ve got one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with more than 80,000 Kiwis diagnosed every year. Regular skin checks, every 12 months, with a trained doctor, are the best way to detect changes and skin cancer. But if you notice anything that looks unusual between appointments, it’s important to visit your GP or dermatologist for assessment. Prevention is always better than a cure too, so remember to check the UV index, cover up, and wear sunscreen — or stay out of the sun — when the index is three or higher.

Frequency: Every year with a dermatologist or doctor, or as soon as possible if you notice any changes.

Cervical Smears

Regular cervical smears are vital for anyone with a cervix. Most people with a cervix need to be screened every three years. The National Cervical Screening Programme checks reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer and are available to people with a cervix aged between 25 and 69.

From July 2023, the National Cervical Screening Programme will shift to a human papillomavirus (HPV) test as the primary screening method, which will include the option of self-testing. As a result, screening will change from a three-yearly to five-yearly interval. If you were assigned female at birth but no longer identify as female, it’s important to find a healthcare provider you feel comfortable talking to about cervical smears and any other health concerns you may have.

Frequency: currently every three years, and every five years for those tested using the new screening method from July 2023.

Gynaecological Health Awareness

It’s important to be aware that cervical smears are only able to identify changes to the cells of the cervix. As cervical smears are not able to screen for other gynaecological cancers, it’s essential to know what’s normal for your body and understand the symptoms of ovarian and other gynaecological cancers.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of ovarian cancer can often mimic common health concerns and even IBS, which is why it’s important to see your doctor — and be persistent with them if symptoms continue. Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include bloating, feeling full quickly, pelvic discomfort, back pain, a frequent need to urinate, and a change to bowel habits.

Mental Wellbeing

Staying on top of your mental wellbeing is as important as taking care of physical health concerns, but sometimes it can be a little more difficult to seek help. Don’t be embarrassed to chat with your friends, family, and your trusted healthcare provider about how you’re feeling and about any mental wellbeing concerns you might have.

Whether or not you’ve suffered from mental wellbeing concerns in the past, it pays to be aware of certain life situations that may impact on mental wellness. For example, anxiety and depression can be exacerbated by the loss of a loved one, relationship issues, work stress, or the post-partum period. Check in with your doctor if you’re unsure about how you’re feeling.

Assess your risk factors

Whether you’ve signed up with a new doctor or perhaps haven’t had an in-depth conversation about your health with your regular GP in a while, it’s always a good idea to discuss your family history and get your risk factors for chronic illness assessed. If you’re unsure about your family’s health history, now is the perfect time to have a discussion with them.

While certain lifestyle choices play an immense role in the likes of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure, it’s important to understand if your family history puts you at higher risk. Remember, the more informed you are and the more you talk with your doctor about any concerns, the more preventable many chronic conditions are.

Feeling brushed off?

Chronic health issues are often tricky to diagnose. As a result, it’s easy to feel like your concerns aren’t being taken seriously by your doctor. If your symptoms persist and you’re an nib member, you may be able to claim and be eligible for one of nib’s Health Management Programmes. And if you still have concerns, it’s always possible to seek a second opinion if necessary. 

Start your journey towards better health and wellbeing today. Visit to arrange a callback from one of their knowledgeable insurance specialists.


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