In our youth, many of us neglect preventive care, believing that we don’t really need to see a doctor
until something feels wrong with our bodies. But as we age, it becomes increasingly important to get
regular preventive care, including screenings for early detection of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and
There are four big preventive care screenings and exams you should be getting. Let’s look at each one in
- Mammograms: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that women begin
getting biannual mammograms at age 50. For women who are high risk due to family history,
doctors may suggest annual mammograms beginning as early as age 40—but remember,
mammograms use radiation, which may actually increase your risk of breast cancer.
- Colonoscopy: Blue Cross Blue Shield recommends that all adults get a colonoscopy at age 50. For
those who are low risk, repeat colonoscopies every 10 years will likely be sufficient. Those with a
personal or family history of cancer may be told to get them more often.
- Well-woman exam: Pre- and postmenopausal women can still get ovarian, cervical and uterine
cancers, which means they should get an annual well-woman’s exam at least every three years.
These exams may also include a manual breast exam, which can complement routine
- Annual checkups: During an annual checkup, your doctor will look at your blood workup, your
eyes, your ears, any suspicious-looking moles and for some men, the prostate. These annual
exams can help you quickly respond to prediabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin
cancer and more, allowing you to get early treatment and prevent subsequent diseases. They
may also lead to your physician suggesting other important screenings such as stress tests.
Your health is the most important asset you bring into retirement. Safeguarding it doesn’t just mean
eating right and exercising; it means being on the lookout for potential problems and treating early
warning symptoms before they become full-on illnesses.