Health Screenings You Need in Your 50s

Jake Newby

| 2 min read

Preventive screenings help us protect our health. Once we hit 50, several key health screenings should be conducted at your annual preventive visit to ensure a happy, healthy future.
As a quick refresher, here is a partial list of screenings recommended in your 20s, 30s and 40s:
  • Annual preventive visit
  • Infectious disease screening
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Breast cancer screening (Reminder: By age 50, patients can begin scheduling mammograms every other year).
  • Colorectal cancer screening 
  • Prostate 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 50s. Additionally, here’s a list of screenings you should begin undergoing between age 50-59. 

Lung cancer screening

If you have a history of smoking cigarettes, lung cancer screenings become pertinent in your 50s. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 50 to 80 who:
  • Have a 20 pack-year smoking history. 
  • Currently smoke. 
  • Or have quit within the past 15 years. 

Shingles vaccination

Most healthy adults aged 50 and over should get Shingrix –a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration – to prevent shingles. Shingles is a viral infection caused by the chickenpox virus. It can cause a painful rash.
It’s important to get two doses of Shingrix separated by 2 to 6 months. Two doses of Shingrix protects against shingles and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication of shingles.

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.
Read more from this series:
Photo credit: Getty Images

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