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Tests for a Lifetime

Women need to pay special attention to your body at different stages of their lives. Here's a list of must-take tests that every woman should take.

Pap Smear

    A simple test that can detect cancer of the cervix in its earliest stages. Teens should begin this test at about age 18, or when they become sexually active. The test should be repeated annually throughout a woman's life.
Breast Self Exam
    A breast self-exam should be performed monthly beginning in teen years and continuing throughout your life. The best time of month to perform BSE is one week after your period.
Professional Breast Exam
    It's important to get a regular breast exam by a physician or nurse practitioner, who is trained to recognize abnormalities you may miss. This exam should be performed annually beginning at age 18.
    A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts that can detect abnormalities before they can be felt during exams. Early detection of breast cancer is key in improving cure rates. A baseline mammogram should be performed between the ages of 35 and 40. Beginning at age 40, women should receive an annual mammogram throughout their lives. If there is a history of breast cancer in your family, you should consult your physician to recommend the best schedule for early detection.
Blood Pressure
    Used to detect high blood pressure, a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Test should be performed at least annually, beginning in childhood.
    Checks the level of serum cholesterol in the blood, a risk factor for heart disease. Should begin in childhood and repeated every five years if cholesterol is normal.
Pelvic Exam
    A pelvic exam detects abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries, including the possibility of uterine and ovarian cancer. Should begin at age 18 (or when you become sexually active) and be repeated annually.
Colo-Rectal Exam
    Detects traces of blood in stool, an early sign of colon cancer. Should be done every two years between the ages of 40 and 50, and annually after the age of 50.
    An exam using a fiber-optic, flexible endoscope to detect rectal and colon abnormalities. Should be performed at age 50 and after two normal exams should be repeated every two to five years.
Glaucoma/Eye Exam
    Detects eye abnormalities. Should be performed every two years between the ages of 30 and 50 and annually after age 50.

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