Women’s Health Screening
Women’s health screening involves various tests and examinations that are recommended at different stages of life to detect potential health issues and ensure early intervention and treatment. The specific screenings and frequency may vary based on factors such as age, medical history, family history and individual risk factors. Here are some common screenings and recommended intervals:
A cervical smear (formerly known as a Pap test), is a screening test for cervical cancer. It involves collecting cells from the surface of the cervix to check for abnormalities or the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV). The recommended age to start cervical smears and the frequency of testing can vary, but it generally starts around age 25 and is repeated every three to five years.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used for early detection of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women with an average risk of breast cancer start getting regular mammograms at age 40 and continue annually. In the NHS, mammograms start at age 50 and are offered every 3 years . However, guidelines may vary and it’s important to discuss the appropriate timing for you, with your healthcare provider. I
Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)
A clinical breast exam is a physical examination of the breasts by a healthcare professional. It is typically recommended every one to three years for women in their 20s and 30s. After the age of 40, CBE is usually performed annually, along with mammograms.
Bone Density Test
A bone density test, usually performed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), measures bone density and assesses the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. The frequency of testing depends on individual risk factors, but it is generally recommended for women aged 65 and older. Younger women with specific risk factors may also require earlier screening.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Screening
Regular monitoring of cholesterol levels and blood pressure is essential for assessing cardiovascular health. The frequency of screening may vary depending on individual risk factors, but it is generally recommended to start in early adulthood and continue at regular intervals.
Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing is crucial for sexually active women. The specific tests recommended may vary based on sexual activity and risk factors. Common tests include screening for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. The frequency of testing depends on individual risk factors and sexual behaviour.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer screening, such as a colonoscopy or Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), is typically recommended starting at age 50. However, individual risk factors and family history may warrant earlier or more frequent screenings.
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and individual screening recommendations may differ based on personal history and risk factors. It is always best to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening schedule for your specific needs.