Medical Screening Guidelines

The National Institutes of Health recommends the following medical screenings, tests and checkup schedule:


  • Have a yearly physical exam.
  • Visit the dentist every year.
  • Have an eye exam every 2 years and make sure you are tested for glaucoma.
  • Have your hearing tested every year.

Blood pressure screening

  • Have your blood pressure checked every year.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be watched more closely.

Cholesterol screening

  • If your cholesterol level is normal, have it rechecked every 3-5 years.
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Colon cancer screening

Guidelines call for a stool test every year, a colonoscopy every 10 years or a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years. If you have risk factors for colon cancer, you may need a colonoscopy more often. Discuss with your doctor.


  • Get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had before, or if you received one at age 60 or younger.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Get a tetanus -diphtheria booster every 10 years.
  • A shingles vaccination may be given once after age 60.


  • All men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their healthcare provider.
  • Men between ages 65-75 who have smoked should have an ultrasound done once to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  • All men over age 70 should have a bone density test.


  • Continue your monthly breast self-exam. Contact you doctor immediately if you notice a change in your breasts.
  • A complete breast exam should be done by a healthcare provider every year.
  • You should have a mammogram to check for breast cancer every 1-2 years depending on risk factors.
  • All women should have at least one bone density test.
  • Your schedule for Pap smears may change. If your Pap tests have been normal for three years in a row, your PCP may tell you to be tested every 2-3 years rather than every year.
  • If you are over 70 and your Pap smears have been negative for an extended period of time (10 years), discuss with your doctor about discontinuing the testing.
  • Women who have had a total hysterectomy may choose not to have Pap smears. Discuss this with your doctor.