Ages 40–64 Years: Exams and Screening Tests

The following exams and screening tests are recommended for women in this age group:


Exam/Screening Test


What and Why







Cervical cancer screening



A sample of cells is taken from the cervix to look for changes that could lead to cancer (Pap test); this test may be combined with testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) in women aged 30 years and older



Preferred: Pap test and human papillomavirus testing (co-testing) every 5 years 

Optional: Pap test alone every 3 years





Breast exam by a health care professional










Screening tests to look for cancer of the colon and rectum



Colonoscopy every 10 years (preferred) or other screening test beginning at age 50 years. African Americans should begin screening at age 45 years.

Other methods include the following tests:

• Yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test  with high sensitivity for cancer

• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years

• Double contrast barium enema test every 5 years

• Computed tomography every 5 years

• Fecal DNA test (interval unknown)





A test to measure the level of glucose (a sugar that is present in the blood and is the body’s main source of fuel) because high levels could be a sign of diabetes mellitus



Every 3 years after age 45 years



Hepatitis C testing

A blood test to assess whether a person is infected with hepatitis C virus 

Once for persons born between 1945 and 1965 who are not aware of their infection status



A test to check for HIV, a virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)



At least once during your lifetime; review annually for risk factors to determine if repeat testing is needed





A test used to assess the risk of heart disease that measures the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood



Every 5 years beginning at age 45 years





An X-ray of the breast to look for breast cancer








A test to check if your thyroid gland is working correctly



Every 5 years beginning at age 50 years




Next: Ages 40–64 Years: Immunizations

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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998