Prioritizing Your Health in the New Year: Women’s Health Screenings

With the start of 2024, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your health. Have you been diligent about taking care of yourself and making sure you are getting your recommended health screenings? If not, the new year offers an opportunity to set new goals and put your health at the top of your to-do list, starting with scheduling any screenings you might have put off. 

Start by talking with your healthcare provider about what screenings and visits are recommended for you based on your age and overall health.    

All Ages 

  • A well-woman visit: This visit should take place once per year with your OB-GYN, who will discuss your overall health and risk factors, update immunizations, do a physical exam and give you a chance to ask any questions. 
  • An eye exam: It's a good idea to see your eye care provider every 1-2 years for a comprehensive eye exam. If you are noticing visual changes or have a history of eye problems, it's time to make that appointment.
  • Dental exams: Once or twice per year, visit your dentist for a checkup. 
  • Primary care visits: At least once every one to three years, visit your primary care provider to have your blood pressure and weight checked and discuss any concerns you might have. 
  • Flu shot: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine once per year, ideally in September or October. 
  • Tetanus diphtheria booster: Once every 10 years, you should get a booster shot.   

In Your 20s 

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea screening: If you are sexually active you should have this screening annually until age 25. 
  • Cervical cancer screening: Beginning at age 21, you should have a Pap test once every three years. 
  • Clinical breast exams: Talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should have this exam every one to three years.  

In Your 30s 

  • Cervical cancer screening: Starting at age 30, you have options for cervical cancer screening, including Pap tests, HPV tests or co-testing. Talk to your provider to determine what is right for you and how often to be screened.  
  • Fertility testing: This can be done if you wish to become pregnant but are having trouble conceiving. 

In Your 40s 

  • Cervical cancer screening: This should continue according to the schedule you have decided on with your provider. 
  • Mammograms: Annual mammograms to screen for breast cancer should begin at age 40. 
  • Menopause: Make an appointment with your provider when you start noticing early symptoms of menopause or begin experiencing unexpected hormonal changes. 
  • Colorectal cancer screening: At age 45, screening for colorectal cancer should begin. Colonoscopies should be done every 10 years for people at average risk. Your provider might recommend beginning earlier if you are at high risk. 

At Age 50+ 

  • Cervical cancer screening: Continue until age 65. 
  • Bone density screening: This should be done for all women age 65 and older or for those between ages 50 and 64 who have risk factors for osteoporosis or who have had a broken bone. 
  • Lung cancer screening: If you are between 50-80, have a 20-pack-year smoking history, and you currently or have quit smoking, you may be eligible for a lung cancer screening.  
  • Vaccinations: Get vaccinated for shingles, as well as pneumonia, at age 65. 

Questions about screenings? Find a doctor at Weill Cornell Medicine.