Health Screenings for Women

three multigenerational women hugging

FEBRUARY 2023 – It’s a good time of year to make sure you’re up to date on your health screenings.

Many conditions don’t have symptoms in early stages – like high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers. Early screening helps prevent health problems later.

Recommended screenings for women:

  • Blood pressure – once a year (more if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, are overweight, have a first-degree relative with high blood pressure, or are Black)
  • Breast cancer -- screening mammogram starting at age 40, every 1-2 years depending on your risk factors (annually if your mother or sister had breast cancer at a younger age; start your mammograms at the age they were when diagnosed). Your provider might recommend screening MRI if you have other risk factors.
  • Cervical cancer – Pap test starting at age 21, every 3 years until age 65. (No Pap tests needed after total hysterectomy.)
  • Cholesterol – age 45+, every 5 years (earlier if you have risk factors for heart disease; more often if you have weight gain/loss, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems).
  • Colorectal cancer – age 45+ (younger if you have family history, or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Dental exam – 1-2 times a year
  • Diabetes – age 35+, every 3 years (more if you have obesity, high blood pressure, prediabetes, history of heart disease)
  • Eye exam – age 40+, every 2-4 years (then every 1-3 years starting at age 55)
  • Hearing test -- if you have any hearing loss (ask your family and friends)
  • Immunizations – annual flu shot (all ages), shingles (age 50+), others
  • Infectious disease – one-time tests for hepatitis C (age 18+) and HIV (age 15+). Pregnant people should be screened for hepatitis C at each pregnancy.
  • Lung cancer – once a year if you’re age 50+ and smoke 20+ packs a year now, or did and quit in the past 15 years
  • Osteoporosis - age 65+ (earlier if you smoke, drink heavily, use(d) steroids, broke a bone after age 50, have family history of hip fracture or osteoporosis)
  • Skin exam – age 20+, once a year (earlier and/or more often if you have moles, family history, lots of sun exposure)

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force health screening recommendations are detailed by the National Institute of Health in its Medicine Library.