Ages 65 Years and Older: Exams and Screening Tests

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


Exam/Screening Test



What and Why








A screening test for osteoporosis



No more than once every 2 years beginning at age 65 years, unless new health risks develop



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 (co-testing)



Age 65:

-Preferred: Co-testing (Pap test plus HPV test) every 5 years

-Optional: Pap test alone every 3 years

Older than age 65: You can stop having cervical cancer screening after age 65 if you do not have a history of moderate or severe cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer and if you have had either three negative Pap test results in a row or two negative co-test results in a row within the past 10 years, with the most recent test performed within the last 5 years.





Breast exam by a health care professional








Screening tests to look for cancer of the colon and rectum



Colonoscopy every 10 years (preferred). 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

Every 3 years



Hepatitis C testing

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



Every 5 years





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



Yearly; talk to your health care professional about whether to continue having mammograms if you are aged 75 years or older





A test to check if your thyroid gland is working correctly



Every 5 years






A test to measure the levels of certain substances, such as glucose, in your urine







Next: Ages 65 Years and Older: 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