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Keeping up with health screenings is essential to detect potential medical concerns before they become serious or more expensive to treat. From blood pressure readings to mammograms and pap smears, here is a recommended guide on when women should start scheduling screenings and practice preventive health measures.

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When to start Test Frequency Reason
18

Blood pressure test

Every 2 years at least (more often if you have a medical condition) The ideal blood pressure for women is less than 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension or hypotension can lead to cardiovascular diseases, strokes and kidney failure.
18 Skin exam Monthly Women should regularly inspect their skin and take note of unusual moles. Inform a doctor or dermatologist if there are any, as it might be an early sign of skin cancer.
20

Clinical breast exam

Every 3 years for women in 20s and 30s.

Every year for women 40 and over.

This detects potential development of breast cancer at an early stage.
21

Pelvic exam

Every year

This identifies possible cervical cancer.

21

Pap smear

Every 3-5 years This identifies possible cervical cancer.
30

HPV test

Every 3-5 years

A joint HPV test and Pap smear has been proven to be more effective at detecting HPV infections and cervical cancer, compared to just doing the Pap test alone.
35

Cholesterol screening

Every 5 years (earlier for women with higher risk factors)

High cholesterol puts you at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

40 Mammogram

Every 1–2 years

This identifies early signs of breast cancer.
45

Blood glucose test

Every 3 years

High blood glucose levels indicate higher risk of diabetes.
50 Colonoscopy Every 10 years These colon screenings check for possible colorectal cancer.
50 Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Every 5 years

These colon screenings check for possible colorectal cancer.
50 Fecal occult blood test

Every year

These colon screenings check for possible colorectal cancer.
50

Rectal exam

Every 5 – 10 years

This detects colon cancer at an early stage.
65

Bone mineral density test

At least once

This identifies osteoporosis and bone loss. Women with higher risk factors, such as fractures in the past or smaller frame, should start earlier.

When sexually active

Chlamydia test

Every year

This prevents the spread of chlamydia.

When sexually active

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening

Before starting sexual activity

For women and their partners, getting checked early prevents the spread of STDs including HIV.

 

Source: Womenshealth.gov, Everydayhealth.com and other related websites

This schedule is a general guideline on several important health screenings and when women should start them. However, some may need to start earlier depending on their risk factors. Discuss with a healthcare professional to determine the right routine.

Preventive health screening is a way of ensuring you can find health problems and begin treatment before they become serious. Another way to plan ahead is to get a comprehensive medical plan that helps you cope with financial burdens and future uncertainties should anything happen.

Allianz Malaysia has various medical plans including a dedicated Lady Guard Plan for female-related cancer and illnesses. Find out more and get the right medical protection for your needs!  

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