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Health Screening Guidelines, Women Ages 65 and Older

Screening tests and health counseling are a key part of managing your health. A screening test is done to find disorders or diseases 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 reduce your risk of disease.

Below are guidelines for women ages 65 and older. Talk with your healthcare provider. Based on your health history and risk factors, your provider may change the screening advice. Make sure you’re up-to-date on what you need.

Screening

Who needs it

How often

Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

Women in this age group up to age 70 who are overweight or have obesity

Talk with your healthcare provider about how often they recommend screening.

Type 2 diabetes

All women with prediabetes

Every 1 to 2 years

Unhealthy alcohol use

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 of average risk. Expert groups vary on their advice. Talk with your provider about your specific situation.

A mammogram should be done every 1 or 2 years. Talk with your provider about your risk factors. Ask how often you need the test. Ask what age you can stop. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises a mammogram every 2 years through age 74. The American Cancer Society advises screening every 1 to 2 years for women 55 and older. They advise screening to continue for as long as a woman is healthy and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

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

Only women who have not been screened regularly or have had abnormal screening results before age 65

Talk with your healthcare provider if screening is needed.

Chlamydia

Women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Colorectal cancer

All women at average risk in this age group through age 75. For women ages 76 to 85, ask your healthcare provider if you need to keep screening. For women older than 85, screening is not advised

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

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years (or every 10 years with yearly fecal immunochemical test (FIT) stool test)

  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test

  • Yearly FIT

  • Stool DNA test every 3 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.

Depression

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Gonorrhea

Sexually active women at higher risk for infection

At yearly routine exams. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Hepatitis C

Test 1 time for women through age 79.

At routine exams

High cholesterol or triglycerides

All women in this age group who are at risk for coronary artery disease

Every year. Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk.

HIV

Women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Lung cancer

Women ages 50 to 80 who are in fairly good health, are at higher risk for lung cancer, and who:

  • Smoke or have quit smoking and

  • Have a 20-pack per year smoking history (1 pack a day for 20 years or 2 packs a day for 10 years)

Expert groups vary in their advice. Talk with your provider.

Yearly lung cancer screening with a low dose CT scan (LDCT). Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors.

Obesity

All women in this age group

At yearly routine exams

Osteoporosis

All women in this age group

Routinely done every 2 years. Repeat as advised by your healthcare provider.

Syphilis

Women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Women in this age group with symptoms of thyroid dysfunction

Talk with your healthcare provider

Tuberculosis

Women at higher risk for infection

Talk with your healthcare provider

Vision

All women in this age group

Every 1 to 2 years. If you have a chronic health condition, ask your eye care provider if you need exams more often.

Counseling

Who needs it

How often

Diet and exercise

Women who are overweight or obese

When diagnosed, and then at routine exams

Fall prevention (exercise and vitamin D supplements)

All women in this age group

At routine exams

Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention

Women at higher risk for infection

At routine exams. Talk with your healthcare provider.

Use of tobacco and the health effects it can cause

All women in this age group

Every exam

Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Susan K. Dempsey-Walls RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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