Q. What are the most important medical screening tests for women and at what age should they have them?
For younger women, cervical smear tests should be done regularly every three years from the age of 25 years onwards and Cervical Check provide this service free of charge at your local doctor. I normally advise my patients to start having annual checks after the age of 40. At this visit I recommend a blood pressure check, fasting blood tests to look at cholesterol, glucose and thyroid function among others, and a breast examination. At age 50, Breast Check provide a free mammogram every two years until age 64. Other screening tests may be necessary based on a woman’s family history or lifestyle factors. For example, a colonoscopy might be necessary if a first degree relative (mother, father, sibling) has developed bowel cancer. If you are a heavy smoker or if your mother had osteoporosis, then a bone density check (DEXA scan) might be appropriate for you.