Which Medical Exams Do You Need Now?
By Shana Aborn
Which medical exams do you need now? Can’t remember the last time you went for a cholesterol test or mammogram? Don’t panic! The recommended guidelines for many medical tests have changed in the recent years, so you may need to be screened less often for certain diseases than you think. “The annual physical exam has gone by the wayside,” says Sapna Kripalani, M.D., an internist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “But women still need to be vigilant about having cancer prevention screenings and other tests that detect serious health problems.” Here’s a guide to what you need and when.
When you need them: It depends. “There has been some controversy about when to initiate mammography,” says Dr. Kripalani. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screening for women ages 40 and up, but there’s some question as to how much benefit there is in early screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women begin having mammograms at age 50 and every other year after that. If you’re under 50 with no risk factors, you may want to keep that in mind.
Talk to your doctor if: You have a family history of breast cancer, or if you notice any lumps or changes in the appearance or feel of your breasts.