What exactly does health-screening mean? And when is it the right time for girls to start?

Health screening, as its name suggests, involves doing certain tests to screen your health for any possible abnormalities. The main purpose is to detect any disease early, before any signs or symptoms appear.

Sometimes unfortunately, by the time a woman experiences any abnormal signs or symptoms, it may actually be too late.

group of happy and healthy women

Different health concerns may affect women belonging to different age groups, and hence the health screening tests that we carry out for women of different age groups will also differ.

In this article, we will focus on the various health screening tests that women should have based on their age group.

Do note that information on health screening in this article is meant for healthy women without any prior medical condition, family history of cancer or any abnormal symptoms.

young adolescent girls

AGE GROUPRECOMMENDED SCREENING TESTS

Late Teens to 20s

This is the time when girls are starting to become sexually active as they enter new relationships or start gaining independence

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination – reduces risk of cervical cancer and genital warts. (Recommended for girls as young as 9 years old)
  • PAP smear to screen for cervical cancer (Recommended to start from 21 years old if sexually active)
  • Screening for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (If there is a history of multiple sexual partners or new partner)
  • Ultrasound Pelvis (general screen for ovarian cysts, fibroids etc)

mother with newborn baby

AGE GROUPRECOMMENDED SCREENING TESTS

30s

Ladies in their 30s may have started to settle down, get married and may be planning for a family. It may be wise to get a preconception or fertility screen to ensure you and your partner are in optimal health before trying to conceive

  • PAP smear to screen for cervical cancer (PAP alone to be done 3 yearly)
  • HPV co-testing with PAP smear (recommended from 30 years old onwards, 5 yearly)
  • Screening for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (If there is a history of multiple sexual partners or new partner)
  • Ultrasound Pelvis (general screen for ovarian cysts, fibroids etc)
  • Fertility and Preconception Screening

complete family looking at sunset

AGE GROUPRECOMMENDED SCREENING TESTS

40s

Many women would have completed their families. It’s now time to pay more attention to screening for chronic diseases

  • PAP smear to screen for cervical cancer (PAP alone to be done 3 yearly)
  • HPV co-testing with PAP smear (recommended from 30 years old onwards, 5 yearly)
  • Fertility and Preconception Screening (if family not completed yet)
  • Ultrasound Pelvis (general screen for ovarian cysts, fibroids etc)
  • Mammogram (yearly from 40 years old)
  • General Full Health Screening

older woman ageing well

AGE GROUPRECOMMENDED SCREENING TESTS

50s

Time to prepare for or deal with menopause

  • PAP smear to screen for cervical cancer (PAP alone to be done 3 yearly)
  • HPV co-testing with PAP smear (recommended from 30 years old onwards, 5 yearly)
  • Ultrasound Pelvis (general screen for ovarian cysts, fibroids etc)
  • Mammogram (2 yearly from 50 years old)
  • Colonoscopy (every 10 years from 50 years old)
  • Osteoporosis Screen (for postmenopausal women)
  • General Full Health Screening

elderly woman keeping fit and healthy

AGE GROUPRECOMMENDED SCREENING TESTS

60s

Health screening plays a crucial role as age increases, especially with chronic diseases or complications associated with menopause

  • PAP smear to screen for cervical cancer (up to 65 years old if all previous results normal)
  • Ultrasound Pelvis (general screen for ovarian cysts, fibroids etc)
  • Mammogram (2 yearly from 50 years old)
  • Colonoscopy (every 10 years from 50 years old)
  • Osteoporosis Screen (for postmenopausal women)
  • General Full Health Screening