New year, new you? If you have resolutions on your mind, your health may be the best place to start. And scheduling recommended screenings is the first step toward a better, healthier 2023.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s list of recommended women’s health screenings is a go-to resource for your age-specific health needs. We’ve collected some of their can’t-skip screenings for women at every stage of life—and a few to keep in mind, no matter your age.
Screenings for women between 18 and 39
You’ve now hit adulthood and may be starting your career or considering starting a family. Keep yourself in tip-top shape by scheduling the following screenings.
Cervical cancer screening
If found early, cervical cancer is highly treatable. Doctors recommend cervical cancer screenings via a Pap test every three years for all women beginning at age 21.
From age 30 to 65, women should continue to have a Pap test every three years and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years. Your doctor may recommend a “co-test,” which involves a Pap and HPV test every five years.
Women without risk factors for diabetes should be screened every three years, beginning at age 35. Those with risk factors for diabetes (family history, overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, prediabetes or a history of heart disease) may need earlier and more frequent screenings.
Screenings for women between 40 and 64
Women should continue screenings for cervical cancer and diabetes after they turn 40. New screenings to add to your list include:
Breast cancer screening
Mammography is an imaging test used to detect signs of breast cancer. Yearly mammograms are recommended for many women over age 40. Some women may need mammograms only once every two years. Talk to your doctor about your family history of breast cancer to determine your mammogram frequency.
Women without risk factors for heart disease should get cholesterol screenings every five years, beginning at age 45. Those with known risk factors need to start screening at age 40.
Colorectal cancer screening
Most women should begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45. Those at high risk for colon cancer may need to start screening earlier. There are many types of colorectal cancer screenings—each with recommended frequencies. Talk to your doctor about which type of colorectal cancer screening is right for you.
Lung cancer screening
Not all women will need or qualify for lung cancer screening. Screening is recommended if you are 50 and have a smoked at least a pack a day for 20 years, are currently smoking or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.
Screenings for women over 65
Screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, colorectal cancer and lung cancer (if needed) should continue after age 65. Talk to your doctor about screening frequency. At age 65, add the following screening to your list:
Women over 65 should have routine bone density tests. These tests, called DEXA scans, look for signs of weakened bones, which can lead to fractures.
Screenings for women of all ages
There are many recommended screenings for women of all ages. Add these to your list of screenings to schedule in 2023.
- Blood pressure screening: Get your blood pressure checked once a year. Ask your doctor about checking blood pressure more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or are overweight. You may also need more frequent blood pressure checks if you have an immediate relative with high blood pressure.
- Infectious disease screening: All adults should be checked at least once for hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Sexually active women should also be screened in early adulthood for sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
- Dental health screening: A dental exam and cleaning is recommended once or twice yearly.
- Skin cancer screening: Routine skin screenings can detect early signs of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about your risk for skin cancer to learn how often you should be screened.
- Vision screening: If you have vision problems at any age, you’ll want to get an eye exam every two years. If you don’t experience trouble with your vision, begin routine eye exams at age 40.
At Methodist, we’re committed to helping you make your health a priority. Talk to your primary care provider about recommended health screenings.
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Schedule an appointment with one of our primary care physicians.