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:
Mammogram Checks for breast cancer 40 (or earlier with certain risk factors) Every 1 to 2 years, depending on risk  
Doctor's breast exam May detect breast cancers missed by mammography 20 Annually; 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 exam Checks for cervical cancer 21 Every three years. Women older than 65 may be able to stop testing if your doctor says you're low risk.  
HPV DNA test and pelvic exam HPV is a virus that is known to cause cervical cancer 30 The PAP every three years and HPV every five years until age 65, or as recommended by your doctor. Women older than 65 may be able to stop testing if your doctor says you're low risk.  
Pap smear plus HPV DNA test and pelvic exam Some experts recommend as more precise means to check for cervical cancer 30 Every five years until age 65, or as recommended by your doctor. Women older than 65 may be able to stop testing if your doctor says you're low risk.  


Colorectal cancer screening:

*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 test Measures amount of total cholesterol, "bad" LDL, and "good" HDL cholesterol circulating in the blood. Levels of triglycerides, another blood fat, are also usually checked. 20 Every 5 years, or at your doctor's discretion  
Blood pressure check Measures blood pressure, an indicator of heart risk 18 At least every other year, more often if reading is above normal  
Fasting plasma glucose Measures blood sugar, an indicator of diabetes risk

45, or younger if you are overweight with BMI > 25kg/m2

and have other risk factors such as hypertension or high cholesterol

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

Continued



Bone Health:

Procedure/test: What it does: Starting at age: How often: Date performed/results:
Bone mineral density test Used as an indicator of bone strength and osteoporosis risk 65, or earlier for women with previous fragility fractures; a family history of osteoporosis; on medications that cause bone loss; or have problems with calcium absorption At your doctor's discretion  


Sexual Health:

If you are sexually active and have a higher risk for STDs, get tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis yearly. Take an HIV test at least once, more frequently if you’re at risk.

Vaccines/immunizations:

Procedure/test: What it does: Starting at age: How often: Date performed/results:
Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap) booster Restores protection against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) infection Varies. Recommended in the third trimester of each pregnancy. One dose of Tdap as a booster, and then a Td booster every 10 years  
Pneumonia vaccine Provides lifelong protection against pneumonia 65 or earlier in people with risk factors, such as heart failure, lung disease, alcoholism, and others Two shots if given at age 65 or later. May need to be repeated in people who have certain medical conditions who received it before the age of 65  
Influenza vaccine Provides protection against common influenza strains Everyone 6 months of age and older Yearly

 

 

 

Shingrix To help protect against shingles 50 Two doses 2-6 months apart  
Zostavax To help protect against herpes zoster, or shingles 60 One dose

 

 

 

NOTE: Guidelines for screening vary. This is a compilation of generally accepted major screening recommendations from national health organizations and experts, but it is by no means comprehensive or a substitute for your doctor's advice.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 26, 2019

Sources

SOURCE: 

American Cancer Society. “American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.”
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Cervical Cancer Screening.” July, 2014.
Centers for Disease Control.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. “Cervical Cancer: Screening.”


 

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