Women’s Health: Screenings by Decade

Caesar Djavaherian, MD, MS, FACEP
April 29, 2022
6 mins

Preventive care is one of the best ways to protect your health — a trusting relationship with a primary care provider and routine checkups, including necessary health screenings, can help you maintain wellness and prevent disease throughout your life. 

And when it comes to health screenings, women, and people of other genders who have gynecological health needs, should receive some screenings in addition to the ones everyone should receive. These screenings save lives: Just fifty years ago, cervical cancer killed more women in the U.S. than any other type of cancer. Thanks in part to widespread Pap smears, which detect cervical changes before they become cancerous, the incidence and fatality of cervical cancer have greatly decreased. And mammograms have helped to reduce breast cancer mortality rates by nearly 40 percent in the U.S.

It’s never too late (or too early) to take charge of your health, so now’s a great time to learn about the preventive measures you can take. In this post, we’re taking a look at health screenings by decade.

Your 20s

For most women and people assigned female at birth, health screenings in their 20s will consist primarily of routine checkups with a focus on individual health, individual and family risk factors, and reproductive health. (Learn more about how to prepare for a routine checkup.) To understand your unique hereditary risk factors, talk to your close relatives about your family’s history of cancer, heart disease, degenerative diseases, cardiovascular conditions, and other chronic conditions.

Also talk to your healthcare provider about flu vaccines (recommended yearly) and tetanus vaccines, among other necessary vaccines — including the HPV vaccine if you haven’t already received it. 

People in their 20s should be having the following routine screenings (ask your healthcare provider about recommended frequency):

     • Eye exams

     • Hearing tests

     • Blood pressure screenings 

     • Routine physical exams

     • Routine dental cleanings and checkups

     • Skin checks

     • Pelvic exams

     • Pap smears

People with breasts should also perform routine self-exams, to check for any lumps or tissue irregularities in the underarm, the breast area, and the tissues at the middle of the chest. (Learn more about breast self-exams.) If you have certain risk factors, your healthcare team may recommend starting mammograms earlier in your life than is typically recommended. 

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Your 30s

Your 30s are a critical time for preventive care and screening. Establishing a good rapport with primary care providers and specialists is important when it comes to discussing health and bodily changes honestly and openly — because honest discussions lead to better care and treatment. The following screenings and appointments will not only help you detect and prevent certain diseases and illnesses early, but also build your relationship with your care team. 

In your 30s you should make the following routine care appointments:

     • Eye exams

     • Hearing tests

     • Blood pressure screenings

     • Routine physical exams

     • Routine dental cleanings and checkups

     • Skin checks

     • Pelvic exams

     • Pap smears

     • Blood glucose tests

     • Cholesterol screenings

     • Thyroid stimulating hormone tests

Your 40s

In your 40s, you’ll start to more closely monitor your health and may begin to notice signs of aging or changes in your body and health. Continue to have honest conversations with your healthcare team so they can give you the best care possible.

In addition to continuing many of the screenings you had in your 30s, you’ll likely start to schedule:

     • Bone density testing

     • Mammograms

     • Ovarian cancer screenings

     • Colon cancer screenings: colonoscopy and/or fecal occult blood test

Your 50s

In your 50s, you’ll begin more frequent cancer screenings and should continue to maintain a good relationship with your primary careprovider. Talk to your doctor about whether you need a vaccine to prevent shingles. In addition to the screenings mentioned above, people with a cervix, ovaries, and a uterus should have the following screenings and preventive health appointments:

     • Ovarian cancer screening

     • Coronary health screening

     • Lung cancer screenings (if you have certain risk factors)

Your 60s and Beyond

In your 60s and older years, you will maintain the preventive care screening from your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and your healthcare team may add a few more into the mix. You should add pneumonia boosters to your care routine as well. People who have had consistently normal Pap smears may stop getting Pap smears, if their physicians believe it is safe to do so. 

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider Today

A relationship with a trusted healthcare provider is a key resource for overall health. Make an appointment today with your Carbon Health primary care provider to talk about whatever is on your mind. They are there for you, to answer your questions and support you as you reach your health goals. Download the Carbon Health app or visit carbonhealth.com.

Carbon Health’s medical content is reviewed and approved by healthcare professionals before it is published, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, and before making changes to your healthcare routine.

Caesar Djavaherian, MD, MS, FACEP

As Carbon Health’s Chief Innovation Officer, Caesar Djavaherian, MD, MS, FACEP, guides clinical innovation through product development, service expansion, and partnerships with transformative companies working to improve the healthcare ecosystem. He is an emergency medicine physician, a former high school teacher, and a reformed academic researcher. Caesar co-founded Direct Urgent Care to deliver technology-enabled urgent care throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He has practiced at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the University Hospital of Columbia, and Weill Cornell Medicine. In his spare time, Caesar advises healthcare startups, cheers on the Warriors, tries various HIIT workouts, and daydreams about what the future of health will look like.


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