A Woman's Guide to Preventative Health Screenings
Staying on top of preventative care through recommended health screenings can help women ensure that any health problems you may have are detected early, when they’re most treatable.
“Early detection of disease can help people live longer, healthier lives,” says Sara Lyons, MD, with TriHealth Women's Services Comprehensive OB-GYN. “That’s why it’s important for women to stay current on these recommended screenings, or a modified list suggested by your health care provider based on your personal medical history or risk factors.”
- Breast self-exam: Women of all ages should be familiar with their breasts so they can discuss any changes with their health-care provider.
- Breast exam by a medical professional: At least every three years for women younger than 40. Every year for women 40 and older.
- Mammogram: Every one to two years, beginning at age 40, for women at average risk for breast cancer. Women 80 and older should discuss with their health- care provider whether a mammogram is recommended for them.
- Pelvic exam: Annually, throughout life. This exam can help your doctor find evidence of various gynecologic conditions, including cancer, STDs, fibroids and cysts.
- Pap test: At least every three years through age 60. Women older than 60 should discuss with their health- care provider whether a Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, is recommended for them.
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) tests: Throughout life, before sexual intercourse with a new partner both partners should be tested for STIs, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: Women up to age 26 whose HPV vaccine series is incomplete (two to three doses are required, depending on the age at which the vaccine is given) should discuss vaccination h their health-care provider.
- Blood pressure test: At least every two years. High blood pressure can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
- Cholesterol panel: At least every five years, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides should be measured to assess heart-disease risk. Discuss the right frequency for you with your health- care provider.
- Cancer screening: Colonoscopy every 10 years, or stool-based test (can be done at home and requires no bowel preparation) every year. Talk to your physician about which option is best for you. For those at average risk, colon-cancer screening should occur from age 50 to 75.
- Hepatitis C CV): If you’re born between 1945 and 1965, talk to your doctor about this test.
- Bone density: At least once. Talk to your doctor about the right age for you to be tested.
In addition to the screenings listed here, talk with their doctor any time you have concerns about your sleep habits, mental health, risk factors for disease or symptoms you are experiencing.