No one looks forward to health screenings, but the fact remains that these tests could save your life. For instance, Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate in the U.S., although many types of cancer are preventable. Here are the top seven recommended screenings for women.
- Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. Yearly Paps start at age 21, said Danielle Mann, DO, an OB/GYN on the medical staff at Baptist Health La Grange. After age 30, the Pap is combined with the HPV test for a virus that causes cell damage on the cervix.
- Gonorrhea and chlamydia. Dr. Mann said that this test is a must-have yearly once a woman becomes sexually active through age 26.
- Cholesterol screening beginning at age 20. “Risk calculators integrate your blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and race to help us determine what kind of treatment and lifestyle changes to recommend,” said Amanda Davenport, MD, and OB/GYN on the medical staff at Baptist Health Louisville.
- Thyroid screening. “This is important if you’re considering pregnancy or if you have a personal history of autoimmune disorders or a family history of thyroid disease,” Dr. Davenport said.
- Mammogram. Dr. Davenport recommends annual mammograms.
- DEXA Screening. This bone-density test usually beings around menopause if you have risk factors for osteoporosis, or at age 65. Repeat every two years.
- Colon cancer screening. This should start at age 50, although African-Americans and those with family history, who are at higher risk, should start at 45.