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December 14, 2007

15 Tests Every Woman Needs

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Start testing sooner if you're at above-average risk for these medical conditions:

Get a bone scan every two years starting now if you've taken a glucocorticoid drug (like Prednisone) for two months or more. (Otherwise, get one at 50+.)

If you have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) who has had breast cancer, get a clinical breast exam every three to six months and an annual mammogram starting 10 years earlier than your relative's age at cancer diagnosis. Ask your doctor about adding an MRI.

Colonoscopy every five years starting at age 40, or younger if a first-degree relative had colon cancer or a polyp before age 60.

Annual blood-sugar test starting at age 30 if you're overweight and have/had any of these: polycystic ovarian syndrome, family history, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, or are of African, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American descent.

Transvaginal ultrasound plus a CA-125 blood test starting between 30 and 35 if you have genetic risk (mutated BRCA1 or other ovarian-cancer gene). Start between 35 and 40 if you have a mutated BRCA2 gene.

Consult a dermatologist about a screening schedule if you have a family history of melanoma in two or more blood relatives, multiple unusual moles, or actinic keratoses—gray to pink scaly skin patches.

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