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Health Screening Guidelines, Women Ages 40 to 49

Screening tests are a key to managing your health. A screening test is done to find problems in people who don't have any symptoms. Screening tests are not used to diagnose. They are used to find out if more testing is needed. The goal may be to find a disease early so it can be treated with more success. Or the goal may be to find a disease early so you can make lifestyle changes. You may need regular checkups to help you reduce your risk of disease.

Below are guidelines for women ages 40 to 49. Talk with your healthcare provider. Make sure you’re up-to-date on what you need.

Screening

Who needs it

How often

Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

All women in this age group

At least every 3 years

Type 2 diabetes

All women with prediabetes

Every year

Alcohol misuse

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Blood pressure

All women in this age group

Once a year if your blood pressure is normal. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is higher than this, follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Breast cancer

All women at average risk in this age group. Expert groups vary on their advice. Talk with your provider about your risks.

Talk with your healthcare provider to help you decide when to start screening with a mammogram.

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year starting at age 40.

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women ages 40 to 44 have the choice to start yearly mammograms. ACS recommends that women ages 45 to 54 have yearly mammograms.

 

All women should know how their breasts normally look and feel. They should know the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening with mammograms.

Cervical cancer

All women in this age group, unless they have had a complete hysterectomy

Pap test every 3 years or Pap test and HPV test every 5 years

Colorectal cancer

Women age 45 years and older at average risk

Talk with your healthcare provider about which test below is right for you:

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test

  • Yearly fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

  • Stool DNA test every 3 years

  • Double contrast barium enema every 5 years

If you have a test that is not a colonoscopy and have an abnormal test result, you will need a colonoscopy.

You may need to be screened more or less often. This is based on personal or family health history. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Chlamydia

Women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams if you're at risk or have symptoms

Depression

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Gonorrhea

Sexually active women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams

Hepatitis C

Women in this age group at higher risk

At routine exams

High cholesterol or triglycerides

All women ages 45 and older who are at risk for coronary artery disease. Younger women, talk with your healthcare provider.

At least every 5 years

HIV

All women in this age group

At routine exams. Those with risk factors for HIV should be tested at least 1 time a year.

Obesity

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Syphilis

Women who are at higher risk for infection. Talk with your healthcare provider.

At routine exams

Tuberculosis

Women who are at higher risk for infection

Ask your healthcare provider

Vision

All women in this age group

Complete exam at age 40. Then eye exams every 2 to 4 years. If you have a chronic disease, ask your healthcare provider how often you need an eye exam.

Health Counseling

Who needs it

How often

BRCA gene mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility

Women with higher risk for a gene mutation

When your risk is known

Breast cancer and chemoprevention

Women at high risk for breast cancer

When your risk is known

Diet and exercise

Women who are overweight or obese

When diagnosed, and then at routine exams

Domestic violence

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention

Women who are at higher risk for infection. Talk with your healthcare provider.

At routine exams

Use of tobacco and the health effects it can cause

All women in this age group

Every exam

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
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