Recommended Screenings


Life Stages: For Every Woman Throughout Life

Good health is vital to your happiness, and Bon Secours Virginia can be a trusted resource for your medical needs. We can help you make healthy decisions and start on the path to a rewarding and fulfilling life.  

We were the first to bring digital mammography to central Virginia. We know that preventing osteoporosis now can mean a better future, and that together we can conquer heart disease — the leading cause of death for women. Perhaps most importantly, we know how many people depend on you. So whether you are a teenager, starting a career, expecting a baby, a boomer redefining midlife, or a retiree looking for new options, Bon Secours for Women is for you.

At Bon Secours, women live strong, thanks to over 300 physicians and 115 sub-specialists who deliver specially-targeted, compassionate medical care.

We are happy to share some general guidelines on common screenings for women.  Women should also plan annual visits for physical examinations (blood pressure, BMI, etc.), eye exams, flu shot, and pelvic/breast exam annually. Dental exams should be held every 6 months and every 2-5 years cholesterol and fasting blood glucose checks (unless recommended differently by your care provider).


  • Baseline testing for cholesterol and fasting glucose, especially if you are overweight, since blood glucose can be an indicator of Type 2 diabetes
  • Pap test beginning at age 21, then every 2-3 years if normal
  • Breast self-exams should be done monthly and become a lifelong habit
  • Have a baseline skin check with a dermatologist and repeat every 1-3 years
  • Thyroid (TSH) screening beginning at 35, then every 5 years
  • Baseline mammogram at 35 if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Depending on your individual circumstances: calcium scoring to check for early signs of heart disease and blood
  • Baseline mammogram at age 40 for women at normal risk for developing breast cancer, then annually
  • Baseline colonoscopy for black women starting at age 45 (American College of Gastroenterology)
  • Baseline screening for coronary heart disease in people with strong family history with or certain risk factors

  • Begin annual screening for coronary heart disease. Risk increases at age 55 and symptoms can be different in women than in men. Tests include EKG (stress test) and vascular screening (carotid artery ultrasound screening)
  • Women at high risk for osteoporosis should have a bone density test before age 60
  • Digital rectum exam (DRE) every three years
  • Baseline colonoscopy at 50 to check for colorectal cancer, then every 10 years, OR alternative screenings (virtual colonoscopy, etc.) every 5 years
  • Baseline hearing evaluation before age 60
  • Eye exams should include screening for age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration
  • All women should have DEXA (bone density) screening by age 65 (National Osteoporosis Foundation)
  • Pneumonia vaccine is recommended by age 65
  • Shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over age 60 who had chickenpox earlier in life
  • Regular medication review to prevent possible interactions
  • Recognize early signs of depression and/or cognitive decline and get screened if necessary

At the age of 70, if routine Pap tests have been normal until now, most experts agree you are safe to stop these screenings.  Women should continue with routine mammograms, the only exception being those who are in poor health, in which case early detection and treatment may not positively affect length and quality of life.  Discuss with your physician screening for coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screening. Cognitive screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are also available.

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