U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Get Screened

The Basics

Screenings are medical tests that doctors use to check for diseases before there are any symptoms. Screenings help find diseases early, when they may be easier to treat.

Getting screening tests is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Depending on your age, sex, and medical history, you may need to be screened for:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Hearing loss or vision loss

How do I know which screening tests to get?
You’ll need certain screening tests depending on your age. Check the screening guidelines below for your age and sex. Use these guidelines to start a conversation with your doctor about screening.

For women:

For men:

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Talk with a doctor or nurse about which screening tests are right for you.

Find out about screening tests you may need.
Use the myhealthfinder tool to get a list of recommendations based on your age, sex, and whether or not you are pregnant. Print out the list and take it with you to your next doctor’s appointment.

Gather your family’s medical history.
Talk to your relatives to find out which diseases run in your family. Use this family health history tool to keep track of what you learn. Share the information with your doctor.

Make a list of questions to ask your doctor.
Going to the doctor can be stressful. It can help to write down your questions about screening tests ahead of time.

Check out these questions for the doctor about screenings for:

You can also use this tool to build your own list of questions for the doctor.

Talk with your doctor about getting screened.
Your doctor or nurse can help you decide which screenings to get – and how often to get them. You may need to get certain tests once a year. You may need other tests more or less often.

Tell your doctor or nurse about diseases that run in your family, and share any concerns about your health. This will help you decide together which screening tests are right for you.

If you don’t have a doctor or nurse, check out these tips on choosing a doctor you can trust.

Make sure you get the results from every screening.
You may need to call the doctor’s office to get your test results if the doctor doesn’t call you. And if you don’t understand what the results mean, ask the doctor or nurse to explain them to you.

What about cost?
Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screening tests at no cost to you.

Most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, will pay for the screening tests your doctor or nurse recommends. And the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, requires insurance plans to cover many screening tests.

Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.

Even if you don't have insurance, you can still get important screening tests. Find a health center near you to learn more.

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