Now Screening: A Healthier You - Women's Health Focus

Your provider can help create a screening schedule that fits your unique needs, and this list is a good place to start.

Women, Age 18–39

Starting at age 18, you should begin screening for breast cancer by performing a monthly breast self-exam to search for any changes in breast tissue and having a clinical breast exam every three years. Have a Pap smear and pelvic examination every three years starting at age 21. These tests help identify cervical cancer. Your healthcare provider may recommend doing less frequent cervical cancer screenings after age 30. Pap and HPV screenings can be performed as part of the same exam every five years beginning at age 30, per womenshealth.gov. Your blood pressure should be checked at least every two years starting at age 18. If it is high, your healthcare provider may recommend checking it once a year and have you screened for diabetes using a simple glucose test. If you have certain health concerns, such as heart disease, you may need to have your cholesterol levels monitored starting at age 20.

Women, Age 40–64

Screening standards for blood pressure, diabetes, and cervical cancer remain the same for these years. There are a few changes to some tests and new screenings. Keep up monthly breast self-exams and increase the frequency of clinical breast exams to once a year. At age 40, start having a mammogram every year or two, based on your healthcare provider’s recommendation. Pap smears and HPV tests are recommended every three to five years, but you should receive a pelvic exam annually. Have your cholesterol checked at least every five years. At age 40 and every four years afterward (through age 65), the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends you see an eyecare professional for a glaucoma screening. Start colon and rectal cancer screenings at 50 and bone density screenings for osteoporosis after menopause if you have a history of fractures or other risk factors.

Women, Age 65+

Starting at 65, have your blood pressure checked annually if you have high blood pressure and every two years if your levels are normal. Cholesterol checks are important for those at risk for heart disease. Ask your healthcare provider how often your cholesterol should be monitored. Maintain your monthly breast self-exam and have a mammogram every one to two years through age 74. Your healthcare provider may suggest no longer having Pap smears based on your pelvic health history if you have had three negative test results in 10 years. Regular colorectal cancer screening is recommended until you reach age 75, and you should have at least one bone density test, called a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DEXA scan.

Summit Medical Group healthcare providers offer well care visits for children and adults of all ages, as well as speciality medical care. To find a healthcare provider, visit summitmedical.com. Mammograms are considered the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. To schedule a mammogram at one of Summit Medical Group’s four diagnostic imaging centers, call (865) 588-8005.