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Health Checklist for Women Over 40

Print out this list to keep track of tests and procedures you need after the age of 40 and take it with you to your next doctor's appointment.

Breast Cancer Screening

Procedure/test:What it does:Starting at age:How often:Date performed/results:
MammogramChecks for breast cancer40-50 (or earlier with certain risk factors)Every 1 to 2 years, depending on risk 
Doctor's breast examMay detect breast cancers missed by mammography20Annually; Every three years for women 20-40 

Cervical cancer screening (one of the following):

Procedure/test:What it does:Starting at age:How often:Date performed/results:
Pap smear and pelvic examChecks for cervical cancer21Every three years, or as recommended by your doctor 
Pap smear plus HPV DNA test and pelvic examSome experts recommend as more precise means to check for cervical cancer30Every five years, or as recommended by your doctor 

Colorectal cancerscreening:

Procedure/test:What it does:Starting at age:How often:Date performed/results:
ColonoscopyOutpatient procedure in which a doctor inserts a long, flexible instrument - about 1/2 inch in diameter - into the rectum to view the rectum and entire colon. Many experts say colonoscopy is the most accurate colon cancer screening50Every 10 years, more often for those with risk factors, a family history or history of colon polyps. 
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)Stool is tested for blood -- a possible sign of colorectal cancer50Annually 
Flexible sigmoidoscopyOutpatient procedure for examining the lower portion of the large intestine, called the sigmoid colon. A special instrument with a tiny camera attached is used.50Every 5 years 
Air-contrast barium enemaBarium is given as an enema, and then air is blown in to make the barium spread over the lining of the colon, producing an outline of the colon on X-ray. This helps to reveal any irregularities in the lining, such as a polyp.50Every 5 years 
*Your doctor will pick which screening test is best for you. Your screening schedule may be different depending on your personal and family history.

Heart disease screening:

Procedure/test:What it does:Starting at age:How often:Date performed/results:
Blood cholesterol testMeasures amount of total cholesterol, "bad" LDL, and "good" HDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. Levels of triglycerides, another blood fat, are also usually checked.20Every 5 years, or at your doctor's discretion 
Blood pressure checkMeasures blood pressure, an indicator of heart risk18At least every other year, more often if above normal 
Fasting plasma glucoseMeasures blood sugar, an indicator of diabetes risk

45, or younger if you are overweight

and have other risk factors

Every three years if in normal range, or at your doctor's discretion 

Bone health:

Procedure/test:What it does:Starting at age:How often:Date performed/results:
Bone mineral density testUsed as an indicator of bone strength and osteoporosis risk65, or earlier for women with previous fragility fractures; a family history of osteoporosis; on medications that cause bone loss; or have problems with calcium absorptionAt your doctor's discretion 

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