Your by-the-decade checkup guide

Work out at the gym five days each week. Eat at least five servings of veggies a day. Done and done.

When you’re focused on sticking with healthy habits like these, you think you’re doing everything that needs to be done. But there’s another important way to measure your health: by checking in with your doctor.

Regular health screenings are critical to help prevent, detect and address potential problems. So what screenings do you need – and when do you need them? In this article, we break it down for you by the decade:


Your 20s and 30s

Blood pressure Blood pressure screening is actually recommended starting at age 18. But if you didn’t begin then, get in the habit now and screen every 2 years.
Cervical cancer (women) Get Pap tests starting at age 21 and continuing through age 65 to screen for cervical cancer. Most women are screened every 1-3 (and up to 5) years, based on their results and their doctor’s recommendations. If you’re 30 or older, you may opt for an HPV test along with the Pap. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
Cholesterol Start screening your cholesterol as soon as you hit your 20s with a fasting lipoprotein profile. It measures your good and bad cholesterol and your triglyceride levels. Schedule this test at least every 4-6 years and more often if you’re at risk for heart disease or stroke.


Your 40s

Breast cancer (women) Mammogram every 1-2 years, starting at age 45.
Diabetes Starting at age 45, have your blood glucose levels tested. Schedule this screening at least every 3 years (and possibly more often, based on your results and other risk factors).


Your 50s

Colorectal cancer Start screening at age 50 (or earlier if you have a family history). Your doctor can help determine the right testing method for you and how often you’ll need to screen. (Some are performed every 1-2 years, while others are every 5-10 years.)
Prostate cancer (men) Based on the known benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening, men age 50 and over should talk about screening options with their doctor. African American men and those at an increased risk should do this earlier, at age 45.


All ages

Skin cancer There are no “official” guidelines yet for skin cancer screening, but keeping an eye out is always smart. If you notice moles, spots or changes in your skin, then see your doctor right away.
Depression Safeguarding your emotional well-being is as critical as your physical health. If in the past two weeks you’ve experienced feelings of sadness or hopelessness, or have been disinterested in your day-to-day life or the things you used to find enjoyable, then you could be suffering from depression. If so, talk about a screening with your doctor.


Make the call

Stick with your screenings for greater peace of mind – and more control over your health. Schedule yours today!



  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –
  • American Heart Association –
  • American Cancer Society –