A Recommended Health Screening Schedule

There have been tremendous advances in medicine and healthcare over the last twenty years, affecting everything from our understanding and treatment of certain diseases to the best timing to screen for certain conditions in both men, women and children. Breast cancer, HIV, prostate cancer, Alzheimer's...our ability to identify risk factors and provide early treatment is continually progressing and evolving.

That's why it has become important to discuss what tests an individual should have done - and when - with their primary care physician. Routine checkups and screenings are the key to good preventative medicine.

Health screening schedules are very specific to each person, and are based on their specific general health, age, gender, hereditary factors and pre-existing conditions. A doctor may recommend more frequent screenings, or screenings at a younger age due to any of these factors.

Below are some of the more common health screenings and doctor's exams a patient should undergo - arranged by gender and age - as recommended by the National institutes of Health as well as various health advocacy groups.

Health Screening Schedule


18-40 years old: general physical exam, every 1-2 years

21-40 years old: prostate exam, every 2-3 years

40+ years old, prostate exam, every year

40+ years old: general physical exam, every year

50+ years old: colon cancer screening, every 5-10 years

50+ years old, osteoporosis screening, as indicated by your physician


18-40 years old: general physical exam, every 1-2 yrs

40+ years old: general physical exam, every year

All women: Tetanus/Diphtheria: every ten yrs

All women: pap smear, every 1-3 yrs

All women: breast exam, every 1-3 yrs

40+ years old: mammogram, every year

50+ years old: colon cancer screening, every 5-10 yrs

60+ years old: osteoporosis screening, every 2-5 yrs


Regular checkups and immunizations are critical for children. Within two weeks of birth, the first two checkups will typically occur. Additional checkups occur at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months of age. Children over the age of two typically go for a checkup once a year, with other visits happening throughout the year when the child is injured, ill, or exhibiting signs or symptoms the parent may be concerned about. The child's pediatrician will determine an accurate schedule for immunizations and visits based on your child's health condition and history.

*Always follow a doctor's guidance regarding the timing and frequency of medical visits, tests, screenings and treatments. Note: the above list is not comprehensive.

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