Health Screening Guidelines for Women 40 to 49

A screening test is done to find possible health problems or diseases in people who don't have any symptoms. The goal is to find a disease early so lifestyle changes can be made and you can be watched more closely to lower the risk of disease, or to find it early enough to treat it most effectively. Screening tests are not diagnostic. But they are used to find out if more testing is needed. Health counseling is vital, too. This plan does not include recommendations for pregnancy. You and your healthcare provider may decide that a different schedule is best for you. Major health groups may vary in their advice. But this plan can guide your discussion.


Who needs it

How often

Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

All adults starting at age 35 and adults with no symptoms at any age who are overweight or obese and have 1 or more additional risk factors for diabetes

At least every 3 years

Alcohol misuse

All adults

At routine exams

Blood pressure

All adults

Yearly checkup if your blood pressure is normal.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Breast cancer

All women at average risk in this age group. Expert groups vary on their advice. Talk with your provider about your specific situation.


Talk with your healthcare provider to help you decide when to start screening with a mammogram.

  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms every other year starting at age 40.

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women ages 40 to 44 have the choice to start yearly mammograms. ACS recommends that women ages 45 to 54 have yearly mammograms.


All women should know how their breasts normally look and feel. They should know the benefits and risks of breast cancer screening with mammograms.

Cervical cancer

All women, except those who had a hysterectomy (with removal of the cervix) for reasons not related to cervical cancer and no history of cervical cancer or serious precancer

Women between ages 30 and 65 may choose any of the following test approaches:

  • Pap test plus an HPV test (called "co-testing") every 5 years

  • Pap test alone every 3 years

  • Primary HPV testing every 5 years


Colorectal cancer

Women of average risk ages 45 years and older

Several tests are available and used at different times.

Tests that find polyps and cancer include:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years (recommended)

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or

  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

Tests that primarily find cancer include:

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test, or

  • Yearly fecal immunochemical test every year, or

  • Stool fecal immunochemical test with DNA test, every 3 years

You will need a follow-up colonoscopy if you choose any test other than a colonoscopy and you have an abnormal result. Screening recommendations vary among expert groups. Talk with your healthcare provider about which test is best for you.

Some people should be screened using a different schedule because of their personal or family history. Talk with your provider about your health history and what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you.


Women at a higher risk for infection

At routine exams if at risk


All adults in clinical practices that have staff and systems in place to assure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up

At routine exams


Sexually active women at a higher risk for infection

At routine exams if at risk

Hepatitis C

Adults at a higher risk; 1 time for those born between 1945 and 1965

At routine exams if at risk


All women

At routine exams

Lipid disorders

All women age 45 and older at a higher risk for coronary artery disease

For women ages 19 to 44, screening should be based on risk factors; talk with your healthcare provider

At least every 5 years


All adults

At routine checkups


Women at a higher risk for infection

At routine exams if at risk


Adults at a higher risk for infection

Check with your healthcare provider.


All adults

Baseline comprehensive exam at age 40; if you have a chronic disease, check with your healthcare provider for exam frequency.


Who needs it

How often

Breast cancer, chemoprevention

Women at high risk

When risk is identified

BRCA mutation testing for breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility

Women with a higher risk

When risk is identified

Diet and exercise

Adults who are overweight or obese

When diagnosed and at routine exams

Intimate partner violence

Women of child-bearing age and older women with a higher risk

At routine exams

Sexually transmitted infection prevention

Adults at a higher risk for infection

At routine exams

Tobacco use and tobacco-related disease

All adults

Every exam

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2024
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.