Get the Screening Tests You Need

Screening tests help find diseases early, before you have any symptoms. This is when diseases are easier to treat. You can get many of these tests in your doctor's office. Other tests need special equipment.

Here are screening tests you need from ages 40 to 65. Some of these guidelines come from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Scientific research supports these guidelines.

But sometimes other organizations have different recommendations. When there are conflicting recommendations, we've included the guidelines of organizations like the CDC and the American Cancer Society.

Also, your doctor may recommend slightly different schedules, depending on your situation and family's health history. If you have any questions about when you should be tested, talk it over with your doctor.

Screening Tests for Men and Women

Screening Test Ages 40-49 Ages 50-64
Blood pressure test

Everyone should be tested for high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is:

  • Lower than 120/80 (normal), get tested at least every 2 years
  • Between 120/80 and 129/80, get tested every year.
  • 130/80 or higher, talk with your doctor about treatment

Everyone should be screened for high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is:

  • Lower than 120/80 (normal), get tested at least every 2 years
  • Between 120/80 and 129/80, get tested every year.
  • 130/80 or higher, talk with your doctor about treatment
Cholesterol test

Women: Start testing at age 45, or as early as age 20, if you have a risk of heart disease.

Men: Start testing at age 35, or as early as age 20, as often as your doctor recommends.

Women and Men: Get tested as often as your doctor recommends.

Colorectal cancer screening

(fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)

Screening is not recommended until age 50.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people at high risk for colorectal cancer start testing before age 50.

Starting at age 50, follow your doctor's recommendation. Ask how often you need it.
Diabetes test The American Diabetes Association recommends testing every 3 years starting at age 45 or younger if you are overweight or have other factors that increase your risk. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing every 3 years or earlier if you have risk factors.
HIV test

The USPSTF and CDC recommend testing for HIV starting at age 15 and if you are pregnant.

The USPSTF and CDC recommend HIV testing for everyone.

Syphilis test Get tested if you are pregnant or at increased risk for infection. Get tested if you are at increased risk.

 

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Screening Tests for Women Only

Screening Test Ages 40-49 Ages 50-64
Bone mineral density test (screening for osteoporosis) Testing not recommended. The USPSTF recommends starting routine screening at age 65, or at age 60 for women at increased risk for osteoporosis. Check with your doctor about your risk of osteoporosis.
Breast cancer screening (mammogram)

The USPSTF says check with your doctor about whether you need testing.

American Cancer Society says get a mammogram every year starting at age 45.

The USPSTF says get tested every 2 years, starting at age 50.

American Cancer Society says get a mammogram every year.After age 55, you may switch to getting one every other year.

Cervical cancer screening (Pap test) Get a Pap test every 3 years, or a Pap test along with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every 5 years. No testing is needed if you had a hysterectomy and have no history of a high-grade precancerous lesion. Get a Pap test every 3 years or a Pap test along with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every 5 years. No testing is needed if you had a hysterectomy and have no history of a high-grade precancerous lesion.
Chlamydia test Whether or not you are pregnant, get tested if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested if you are sexually active and at increased risk. If you have to be treated, get retested after 3months.
Gonorrhea test Whether or not you are pregnant, get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk.

 

 

Screening Tests for Men Only

For men, there is a screening test for prostate cancer called the PSA test. There are conflicting guidelines on this test.

The USPSTF says men should not get routine PSA testing. The American Cancer Society says starting at age 50, possibly earlier if at high risk, men should discuss the pros and cons of the PSA test with their doctor to decide if it's right for them.

The American Urological Association says if you are a man ages 55 to 69, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of a PSA test. You should also talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of getting a test if you are at higher risk of prostate cancer.

But the American Urological Association says the PSA test is not recommended if you are a man who is:

  • Under age 40
  • At average risk between ages 40 and 54
  • Age 70 or older

 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on November 19, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Womenshealth.gov: "Screening Tests and Vaccines: Screening Tests for Women" and "Screening Tests and Vaccines: Screening Tests for Men."

MedlinePlus: "Health Screening."

NCI: "Mammograms."

CDC: "Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Screening for Prostate Cancer" and "Screening for Cervical Cancer."

American Urological Association: "Prostate Cancer Screening."

American Diabetes Association: "Screening for Type 2 Diabetes" and "Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes -- 2013."

American Cancer Society: "American Cancer Society Recommendations for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer."

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