Screening Time

With all the tests and screenings we’re advised to have, it can be hard to remember which ones you should have annually and which ones you should have every few years. While some sources give slightly different recommendations (including your healthcare provider) here are some guidelines to give you a general idea of what age to start and how often you should have certain tests completed.

Annual Tests

General Physical: In recent years, there has been debate about the need for annual physicals, but the majority calls for annual checkups for all ages. Most health plans cover physical exams 100%.

Blood and Urine Tests: These tests for cholesterol, diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions should be part of a general physical exam.

Mammogram: The guidelines for this screening updated in 2016 to every year for ages 45-55 and every two years after age 55. For women with family history of breast cancer, concerning results, or other factors, more frequent mammograms might be recommended.

Non-Annual Tests

Pap Test: Some guidelines suggest a “co-test” (a Pap test and HPV test) for women every five years after age 30, but generally women need this test every three years between the ages of 21 and 65.

Colonoscopy: Beginning at age 50, adults should have this every 10 years. For people with family history, concerning results, or other factors, more frequent colonoscopies might be recommended.

Prostate and Testicular Exam: Men ages 45-50 should have testicular exams as part of their regular annual physical. They should discuss with their physicians whether to have a digital prostate exam and/or a PSA test, and how frequently.

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