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Preventive Health Screenings for Women

Preventive Health Screenings for Women

Be proactive about your health. Find out what medical appointments you should be making today.

Prevention & Screenings

This article has been archived. We will no longer be updating it. For our most up-to-date information, please visit our preventive health information here.

This schedule is a suggested timeline for routine health screenings for healthy adults. These recommendations include those agreed upon by expert preventive health task forces such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and some recommended by advocacy groups, such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Talk with your health care provider for guidance on what's best for you. More frequent screenings may be recommended based on your personal health history and your risk factors.

General health
Well-woman visit (physical exam)Annual preventive care visits are recommended and are covered under the Affordable Care Act; discuss with your health care provider.To screen for diseases; assess risk for future problems; discuss lifestyle habits; and keep vaccinations up to date.
Thyroid testRoutine screening is typically not recommended for healthy, nonpregnant adults; however, some organizations recommend considering screening people 60 years and older, as well as women planning to get pregnant and anyone at increased risk for hypothyroidism. Discuss with your health care provider.To identify an under- or overactive thyroid, both of which are very treatable and either of which can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.
Bone health
Bone mineral density testAt least once beginning at age 65; earlier depending on your risk factors for osteoporosis.There are no obvious signs of osteoporosis until you fracture a bone. Bone density screenings identify problems early, enabling you to start treatment and prevent further bone loss.
Breast health
MammogramEvery 1-2 years starting between ages 40 and 50 (guidelines vary; talk to your health care provider about your risks and benefits). Continue annual or biennial screenings at least through age 74, and beyond that guidelines vary. Age alone should not be the reason to discontinue screenings.To identify possible early signs of breast cancer.
Clinical breast examAbout every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and over; some medical organizations no longer recommend clinical breast exams, so talk with your health care provider.A good clinical breast exam may help identify breast cancer relatively early.
Colorectal health
Colonoscopy (and/or other screening tests for colorectal cancer, such as fecal occult blood testing, multitarget stool DNA test (Cologuard), flexible sigmoidoscopy and CT colonography) Starting at age 50. You may need to be screened earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Time frames for screening, as well as risks and benefits, vary for different screening methods. Talk to your health care provider about which test is best for you.To identify (and remove) precancerous polyps or early cancers.
Fasting plasma glucose test (also called blood glucose test)Screening guidelines generally recommend every 3 years starting at age 45, except for adults with increased risk for diabetes who may be tested regularly starting at any age. That includes adults who are overweight or obese or have another risk factor, including: blood pressure higher than 140/90 (or taking blood pressure medicine); family history of diabetes; high cholesterol; history of cardiovascular disease, physical inactivity; high-risk race or ethnicity; or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more or had gestational diabetes.To provide an early warning sign of high blood sugar levels, which could mean an increased risk for diabetes.
Eye, ear and teeth health
Eye examAt least once from age 20-29; at least 2 exams from age 30-39. At age 40, get a baseline eye disease screening, with follow-ups as recommended. Starting at age 65, eye exams every 1-2 years. To test your vision and screen for glaucoma and macular degeneration, two common, often age-related conditions.
Hearing testCurrently, there are no recommendations for regular hearing screenings, but if you have a hearing problem, ask your health care provider for a screening. To make sure you're hearing all life has to offer.
Dental exam and cleaningRegularly, usually every 6-12 months, or as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist.To remove plaque and bacteria that could lead to tooth and gum disease; to check for tongue and mouth cancer. Problems with your teeth can indicate osteoporosis.
Heart and lung health
Blood pressure screeningBeginning at age 18, at least every 2 years. Several screenings, both in and out of the clinical setting, may be recommended before a diagnosis is made. If your blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or higher or you have other heart disease risks, more frequent screening may be recommended.The only way to identify hypertension is with blood pressure screenings.
Cholesterol screeningBegin screening at age 20 for women at increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). Risk factors include diabetes, smoking, obesity, hypertension, personal history of CHD or atherosclerosis or family history of cardiovascular disease. Screenings are recommended every 5 years for those with levels close to needing treatment, possibly longer for those with less risk of needing therapy. Screening is less important in older people because lipid levels are less likely to increase after age 65.Treating cholesterol abnormalities can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Lung cancer screeningAnnually with low-dose computed tomography for adults aged 55 to 80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and or have quit within the past 15 years. To identify early signs of lung cancer.
Reproductive/sexual health
Pap test and HPV test (human papillomavirus)Pap test every 3 years for women ages 21-29; for women 30-65, Pap test and HPV test every 5 years or Pap test alone every 3 years. Women at average risk should not be screened more than once every 3 years. Testing may be stopped at age 65 or 70 for women who have 3 or more normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal test results in 10 years. If you have had your cervix and uterus removed, ask your health care provider if you need to continue screening.Pap tests screen for abnormalities that could indicate pre- or early cervical cancer; HPV helps identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.
Chlamydia testYearly until age 25 if sexually active; for older women, get tested if you are at increased risk for infection, such as if you have new or multiple sexual partners. Allows for early treatment and reducing spread of chlamydia.
Gonorrhea testYearly until age 25 if sexually active; for older women, get tested if you are at increased risk for infection, such as if you have new or multiple sexual partners. Allows for early treatment and reducing spread of gonorrhea.
HIV test and other sexually transmitted infection testsAll sexually active women and their partners should be tested for HIV and other STIs before starting sexual activity. Prevention education and risk assessment for HIV should continue annually, with additional screening based on risk. All pregnant women should be screened for HIV at the start of pregnancy, with retesting during pregnancy based on risk factors. Helps prevent spread of HIV and other STDs, many of which can only be detected through testing.
Skin health
Skin examsTalk to your health care provider about what's right for you. If you have risk factors for skin cancer, your health care provider may recommend periodic skin exams.To track worrisome moles and identify skin cancer early.
Influenza (flu) vaccineAnnually for everyone 6 months and older.Protects against major strains of flu viruses.
Hepatitis AGiven in 2 doses, 6-18 months apart, to children 1 year of age and to adults at risk or who want protection from hepatitis A. May be given in combination with hepatitis B vaccine (in 3 doses).Protects against hepatitis A, a serious liver disease that can cause flu-like illness, jaundice and severe stomach pains and diarrhea.
Hepatitis BGiven to children at birth in 3 doses at 0, 1 and 6 months. Also given to children or adults who weren't vaccinated and are at risk for hepatitis B, such as health care workers.Protects against hepatitis B, a serious liver disease that can develop into a chronic infection.
Herpes zosterOnce only at age 60 or older.Shingles prevention (even if you have had shingles before).
Human papillomavirus (HPV)Age 11-12; or 13-26 if not previously vaccinated; 3 doses at 0-, 2- and 6-month intervals; no booster necessary.Protects against four common types of HPV, including the two most likely to cause cervical cancer.
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)One dose for adults born in 1957 or later who weren't vaccinated as a child, unless advised otherwise by your health care provider. Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
Meningococcal (meningitis)College freshmen, military recruits and other at-risk people; discuss with your health care provider.Protects against some types of meningococcal disease (meningitis).
PneumoniaOnce only at age 65 or older. It may be recommended for younger adults with chronic heart, lung or liver disease; asthma; alcoholism; diabetes; or those who smoke. Protects against pneumonia.
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap)Every 10 years.Protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Varicella (chicken pox)Given in 2 doses at 0- and 4- to 8-week intervals to those 19 or older who have not been vaccinated or had chicken pox.Protects against chicken pox, a usually mild but highly contagious childhood disease, which can be serious in infants and adults.
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