Merck Manual

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Some Recommended Screening Tests*, †

Some Recommended Screening Tests*, †

Condition

Test

For

How Often

Abdominal ultrasonography

Men aged 65–75 who smoke or who have previously smoked

Once

Questions about drinking habits

Adults

Once and periodically, as when circumstances change (for example, when under new stresses or if lifestyle changes)

Genetic counseling and possible genetic testing for the BRCA mutation, which indicates increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers

Women with several close, usually first-degree relatives who have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer

Once

Mammography

Women aged 50–74

For women under age 50, consultation with their doctor about individualized screening

Every 2 years

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Women at high risk (such as those with close family members who have had breast cancer)

When mammography is done

Papanicolaou (Pap) test or another similar test and sometimes a test for human papillomavirus (HPV)

All women who have ever been sexually active and have not had their cervix removed

Every 3–5 years in women aged 21–65

Cardiovascular disease (including heart attack, stroke)

Questions about risk factors, measurement of blood pressure and weight, blood tests for cholesterol (lipid profile) and blood sugar

All

Annual questioning about risk factors and check of blood pressure and weight

Blood sugar every 3 years

Lipid profile every 5 years

A DNA test using a urine sample or a sample taken from the vagina with a swab

Sexually active women who are 24 or younger and women who are over 24 and have risk factors (such as several sex partners or a sexually transmitted disease)

All pregnant women during first prenatal visit

Men who have had sex with men within the previous year

Yearly

Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, tests to check stool for blood (fecal occult blood tests [FOBT] or fecal immunochemical test [FIT]) or cancer DNA (FIT-DNA)

Adults aged 50 (45 in blacks)–75

For adults under age 50, consultation with their physician about individual screening depending on their risk factor profile (such as family history or certain bowel disorders)

For average-risk people— FOBT or FIT yearly; FIT-DNA every 1-3 years; colonoscopy every 10 years; CT colonography every 5 years; or flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years or every 10 years along with FIT every year

Check-up with dentist

All (regular check ups should start when first tooth appears or before a child's first birthday)

Every 3–12 months for children and adolescents under age 18

Every 12–24 months for people aged 18 or older

Questions, including standardized questionnaires

Adults and children 11 or older

Once and periodically, such as during stressful circumstances (for example, divorce, job or lifestyle change, or death in the family)

Blood tests to measure hemoglobin A1C or the blood sugar level

Adults who are older than 45 or overweight, who have high blood pressure or high levels of cholesterol and/or other fats (lipids) in the blood, or who have had high blood sugar levels in the past

Children younger than 18 who are overweight and have 2 or more specific risk factors (family history, member of certain ethnic groups, history of maternal diabetes)

Every 3 years, depending on risk factors and the results of previous tests

A DNA test using a urine sample or a sample taken from the vagina with a swab

Women 24 or younger who are sexually active and women over 24 who have risk factors (such as several sex partners or a sexually transmitted disease)

All pregnant women during first prenatal visit

Men who have had sex with men within the previous year

Once and periodically, as when circumstances change (such as with new sex partners or after becoming pregnant)

Hearing examination

Adults aged 65 or older

Yearly

Sometimes other tests, depending on test results

Pregnant women

At the first prenatal visit

Blood test for infection with the hepatitis B virus

Pregnant women, household contacts, IV drugs users, men who have sex with men. and numerous other risk factors

At the first prenatal visit

Blood test for infection with the hepatitis C virus

People born between 1945 and 1965 and people who have risk factors (such as those who use intravenous drugs)

Once

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Blood pressure measurement

Adults and children 3 or older

Every office visit or annually

Blood or saliva test for infection with the virus

Everyone aged 15–65 years, those over 65 with risk factors for HIV infection, and all pregnant women

At least once and if new high-risk activity occurs (for example, having more than one sex partner, using injection drugs, and, in men, having sex with men)

Low-dose CT scan

People aged 55 to 80 with a 30 pack-year smoking history who currently smoke or have quit only within the past 15 years

Every year

Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure bone density

All women aged 65 or older and women under 65 if they are at risk of fractures due to osteoporosis

At least once

Overweight in adults and children

Measurement of height and weight

Calculation of body mass index (BMI)

All adults and children 6 or older

Every scheduled office visit or annually

Reduced vision

Age-appropriate eye examination and vision testing for amblyopia/strabismus, refractive error, and any other problems that can cause reduced vision

All

Children: At birth (for infections, defects, cataracts, or glaucoma); again by age 6 months (for eye health, vision development, and alignment of the eyes); at age 3–4 years (for any abnormalities that may cause problems with later development); and annually thereafter (each eye should be checked separately every year)

Adults: Every 2-4 years for people aged 18–64

Every 1-2 years for those aged 65 and older

Blood test for the infection

Adults with risk factors (such as having several sex partners, having had a previous sexually transmitted disease, men having sex with men) and all pregnant women

Once and periodically, such as when circumstances change (such as with new sex partners or after becoming pregnant)

Questions

All adolescents and adults

Every office visit

* Based on recommendations from various major authorities in the United States. However, differences do exist among their recommendations. Also, people with increased risk of a disease are usually screened more often. Not all recommendations are included in this table.

† Screening measures that can be done at home include regularly measuring weight and, once yearly, checking the skin for changes and for sores that bleed. People can ask another person (such as a spouse) to check their skin in areas that are difficult to see, such as the back or behind the ears. Some physicians suggest that men check for lumps in their testes, although evidence of the effectiveness of doing so is unclear.