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The Health Screenings You Need at 50+

Here’s what medical experts recommend, based on your gender and age


Blood Pressure Screening

What is it?    
A test that measures the force of blood flow through your arteries.   

When to get it?
At least every two years.

Breast Cancer Screening   

What is it?
Mammograms are low-radiation scans of breast tissue in women that check for abnormalities.   

When to get it?

Women ages 50 to 74 need a mammogram every two years.

Cervical Cancer Screening

What is it?
A Pap test, or Pap smear, detects changes in the cells of the cervix that indicate cervical cancer. A human papillomavirus (HPV) test looks for the type of HPV virus that causes cervical cancer.

When to get it?  
Once every three years with a Pap smear. For women ages 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the time between screenings, having a Pap smear and HPV testing together every five years is recommended.

Cholesterol Screening   

What is it?
A blood test that measures cholesterol levels, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol); HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol); and total cholesterol.

When to get it? 
Screen at least every five years if other indicators of cardiovascular disease are present.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

What is it?   
Three methods are recommended for colorectal cancer screening. A colonoscopy uses a camera to check for cancer, polyps, ulcers and other abnormalities in the colon and rectum. A sigmoidoscopy also uses a camera to check for those conditions, but only in the pelvic colon and rectum. Stool sample tests check for blood in the stool.

When to get it?

For all methods, start at age 50 and stop at age 75. For colonoscopy, every 10 years or more often if you have risk factors. For sigmoidoscopy, every five years or more often if you have risk factors. For stool sample tests, every year.

Next: Health screening for women, ages 60 to 69. »

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