In your 20s…
Get a skin exam annually to check for irregular changes and early signs of skin cancer. If you have a family history of melanoma, make sure your dermatologist knows, since he or she may want to see you more often!
Get a pap smear every 2 years to check for irregular cervical cells, which can show the earliest signs of cervical cancer – a type of cancer largely curable if caught early!
Get a clinical breast exam every three years to check for any lumps. Self-exams are great too, but shouldn’t replace the professional kind!
In your 30s…
Get a skin exam annually in order to continue to screen for skin cancer.
Get a pap smear every 3 years to continue to look for the early signs of cervical cancer. If, however, you’ve had an abnormal pap smear in the last 2 years, continue to screen every 2 years.
Get a clinical breast exam every three years unless you have a family history of breast cancer, in which case you should discuss with your doctor about when to start getting regular mammograms or MRIs.
In your 40s…
Get a skin exam annually unless you’ve had cancerous moles removed in the past, in which case you should discuss bi-annual exams with your doctor.
Get a mammogram every year or when your doctor suggests since the US Preventative Services Task Force recently pushed back their recommend start date for another decade.
Get a pap smear every 3 years or as often as suggested by your doctor dependent on your health history.
Get a colonoscopy every 10 years if you have a family history of colon cancer or suffer with ulcerative colitis.
In your 50s…
Get a skin exam annually or, if you’ve had cancerous moles removed in the past, more often.
Get a mammogram every year unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Get a pap smear every 3 years.
Get a colonoscopy every 10 years unless you have a family history of colon cancer or your doctor suggests otherwise.
And, as always, be your own biggest health advocate! If you’re worried about something, ask your doctor.