On the Big Screen

Screenings for WomenIf you could prevent getting cancer, diabetes or heart disease, you’d jump at the chance, right? Lace up your high tops because routine health screenings that can detect disease symptoms early already exist.

Benefits of Preventive Screenings

Simply put:

  • They are affordable, quick and painless.
  • They can greatly increase life expectancy.
  • They lower healthcare costs.

Routine health screenings may not only help you live longer and healthier, they also can save you big bucks in the long run. Consider these stats:

  • If use of preventive screenings increased to 90% of the recommended levels, the U.S. could save nearly $3.7 billion in healthcare costs.
  • When colon cancer is detected in the early stages, treatment averages $30,000. Late-stage treatment costs around $120,000, nearly four times as much.

Non-negotiable Screenings for Women

  • Mammograms. Annual mammograms are recommended for women starting at age 40.
  • Cervical cancer. Screening for cervical cancer should start at age 21 with a Pap smear. You should know that the Pap only screens for cervical cancer. So, if you have any unusual symptoms, call your doctor.
    • If you’re between the ages of 21-30 and your Pap results are normal, repeat your Pap every three years.
    • If you are 30 years old or older, you should have an HPV (human papillomavirus) test along with your Pap (it’s called co-testing). If both tests are normal, repeat them every five years.
    • If you’re between the ages of 21-64, you should get a pelvic exam every year.
    • After 65, depending on your health history, your doctor may take the Pap test off your To Do list permanently.

What If?

If a routine screening uncovers a possible health concern, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. He or she will help you navigate through specialist appointments and serve as your home base to help coordinate care.

Check This Out

Health By the Decades gives you the inside scoop on all the recommended screenings for every stage of life. Work with your doctor to decide which screenings you need.