Some important health screenings await those entering their 40s. Think of health screenings as risk assessments to prevent or detect future medical problems. Visiting your primary care provider and keeping up on recommended health screenings can help you stay up to date and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Before even turning 40, you should have already undergone a list of screenings, broken down below by age group.
A partial list of screenings recommended in your 20s and 30s includes:
- Annual preventive visit
- Infectious disease screening
- Cervical cancer screening
- Mental health screening
- Blood pressure screening
- Pre-diabetes and diabetes screening
- Cholesterol screening
- Dental exams
- Eye exams
Every adult should continue these routine screenings into their 40s. Additionally, here’s an important list of screenings to schedule between age 40-49.
Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women. One in eight U.S. women are going to develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
Individuals should have a discussion with their primary care provider to understand their risk for breast cancer based on medical and family history. Primary care providers can explain the risks and benefits of screening for breast cancer and provide a recommendation when to start screening and which tests are most appropriate for you. For those with average risk, a baseline screening mammogram is recommended, typically around age 40. Most continue with yearly mammograms until age 50, and then continue to screen every other year.
Colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer screening is one of the best ways to prevent colorectal (colon) cancer. Everyone with average risk should start regular screening by age 45 and continue through age 75 years.
The most common methods are a stool test or a visual exam through a procedure called a colonoscopy.
Prostate cancer screening
It is important to have a conversation with your primary care provider about your risks for prostate cancer beginning in your 40s.All male individuals are at risk for prostate cancer, typically as you age. Black men are at higher risk for prostate cancer at a younger age and should discuss screening, diagnosis, and risks and benefits of treatment with their provider in their 40s.
Another risk factor for prostate cancer is genetics. If you are assigned male at birth and have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer, you should speak with your primary care provider about your family history and recommendations for screening.
Informed Medical Decision Making
This blog post highlights some of the routine health screenings for adults in this age range. There may be additional recommendations based on individual risk factors, including family history and lifestyle. It is important for you to be informed about recommended health screenings, understand the benefits of early detection, risks involved if you decide not to receive recommended screenings, and potential benefits and risks of treatment. We recommend that you have a conversation with your provider that incorporates your goals and values as you make decisions regarding your health care.
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