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Women: Screening exams by age

Focused on Health - August 2013

screening womenTake this checklist to your next doctor’s appointment. Your doctor can help you develop a more tailored screening plan if needed.

These exams are for women at average risk of cancer. If you believe you may be more likely to develop cancer because of your personal or family medical history, visit our screening guidelines page to learn about exams for women at increased risk.

Ages 20 – 29

  • Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test every three years to check for cervical cancer, starting at age 21

Ages 30 - 39

  • Clinical breast exam every one to three years to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every five years to check for cervical cancer

Ages 40-49

  • Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every five years to check for cervical cancer

Ages 50-75

  • Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year to check for breast cancer
  • Liquid-based Pap test and HPV test every five years to check for cervical cancer
    • MD Anderson does not recommend cervical cancer screening for women age 65 and older.
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years or virtual colonoscopy every five years to check for colorectal cancer.

If you’re age 76 to 85, your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening. MD Anderson does not recommend cancer screening for women age 85 and older.

All Ages

Speak with you doctor about cancer screening exams for ovarian, endometrial, lung and skin cancers. Exams are available for those at increased risk.

Regardless of your age, practice breast awareness. This means you should be familiar with your breasts so that you'll notice any changes and report them to your doctor without delay.

Download a printable version of this checklist.

Did you know you can get your cancer screening exams along with a personalized prevention plan at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center? Schedule an appointment today by calling 713-745-8040.  

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