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December 14, 2007

15 Tests Every Woman Needs

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PAP
What Age: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50+
How Often: Repeat every year; after three consecutive negative Paps in your 30s, you can test every two to three years.
Details: Ask for a liquid based cytology test (ThinPrep or SurePath) – the better sample can eliminate the need for immediate retesting (the test feels the same; the change is on the slide). You need a Pap even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine.

PELVIC EXAM
What Age: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50+
How Often: Every year.
Details: Checks for infections, some STDs, growths, cysts, and to see if you need additional test for ovarian cancer.

Diabetes

BLOOD GLUCOSE TEST
What Age: Start at age 45; 25 if your insurance covers it.
How Often: Every three years if normal, more frequently if levels are above normal.
Details: Ask for a fasting blood-sugar test (it’s a blood test). Get clarity on your results; even if you don’t have diabetes, you may have pre-diabetes, which may be reversed with lifestyle changes.

Hormones

THYROID FUNCTION
What Age: Before pregnancy.
How Often: Do what your insurance will cover.
Details: Blood test checks for low or high thyroid levels. Test if you have symptoms like low energy, weight gain, or hair loss. Since many women don’t have symptoms, some docs say every woman should be tested, at least before pregnancy. Get it if your insurance will pay.


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