What are the most important medical screening tests for women and at what age should they have them?

What are the most important medical screening tests for women and at what age should they have them?
  • Blood pressure test — At least every two years beginning at age 18
  • Cholesterol test — Start at age 20 and let your doctor suggest frequency.
  • Bone mineral density test — Have baseline test around age 65 and let your doctor decide on frequency. You may need early screening if you have certain risk factors.
  • Blood sugar test (diabetes) — Get tested if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you have medication for high blood pressure. The U.S. Preventive services Task Force is now considering recommending that all adults 45 and older, and younger people with risk factors should be tested for diabetes.
  • Mammogram — Screening is recommended every 2 years from age 50 through 74. Women in different age groups should talk to their doctor about whether they should be screened. Talk to your doctor about what schedule is right for you.
  • Cervical cancer screening — Get a Pap test at least every three years from age 21 to 30 if you are sexually active unless your doctor recommends more frequent tests.
  • Colorectal health testing — Get screened starting at age 50 with either fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.

Your own screening recommendations may vary depending on your personal risk factors. Talk to your doctor about a screening plan that is best for you.