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Which preventive health screenings are recommended for women in their 50s?

The following preventive health screenings are recommended for women in their fifties:
  • pap smear every three to five years
  • mammogram every one to two years based on their risk factors
  • colon cancer screening at age 50
  • blood pressure screening yearly
  • blood sugar screening yearly
  • cholesterol screening yearly
  • thyroid screening yearly
The following are guidelines for preventive health screenings generally recommended for healthy women in their 50s:
  • Blood pressure test: Have your blood pressure taken at least every two years if normal; more often if it is at or above 120/80.
  • Bone mineral density exam/bone mass measurement: This is recommended for women who have sustained a fracture, are at increased risk due to certain medications or have diseases or conditions that are known to be associated with bone loss.
  • Breast self-exam (BSE): If you choose to perform a monthly BSE, ask your healthcare provider to show you how to perform one.
  • Cholesterol: Have your blood cholesterol tested every five years or more frequently if you have risk factors for heart disease.
  • Clinical breast exam: Screening recommendations vary on whether this is beneficial in combination with a mammogram, so talk with your healthcare provider about whether it's right for you.
  • Colorectal cancer screening: Women 50 years and older should be screened for colorectal cancer using any of several screening methods.
  • Dental exam: Check-ups can detect early signs of oral health problems and bone loss. Professional tooth cleaning is also important for preventing oral problems and should be done every six to 12 months.
  • Diabetes screening: You should be screened every three years; more often or earlier if you're overweight or have other risks for diabetes.
  • Eye exam: Starting at age 40, adults with no risk factors or signs of eye disease should get a baseline screening.
  • Mammography: Talk to your healthcare provider about what's right for you. Some doctors prefer to begin screening at age 50 or only offer it every two years.
  • Pap test and pelvic exam: Get a Pap test every three years or both a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. Talk to your healthcare provider about what's right for you.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: If you have a history of chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or you or your partner have had multiple sex partners, ask your healthcare provider about whether you need to be screened for STDs.
  • Skin exam for skin cancer: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you have your skin examined by a dermatologist every year.
  • Thyroid test: Recommendations vary. Ask your healthcare provider for guidance.
  • Weight: Ask your healthcare provider for more information on healthy weight guidelines or weight-management strategies.
This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.