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A guide to health screenings and preventative care

Be proactive about your health

It’s always better to prevent than cure. The best way to lower your risk for many conditions and diseases — from cancer to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease to musculoskeletal conditions — is to create a balanced approach to health and wellness. This includes keeping active, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a nutritious varied diet, looking after your mental well-being, attending health checks and having recommended screening tests.

When your doctor diagnoses a health condition early, you may be able to delay or even prevent its problems. Getting early treatment can make your condition easier to manage and put you in control of your health.

Your doctor plays a key role in your care

They may suggest:

  • Screening tests, which find health problems before symptoms appear
  • Diagnostic tests, physicals and self-exams, which find health problems early in their course

Your doctor may also use guidelines to recommend screenings based on your age, health, gender, lifestyle habits, family history and, if you’re a woman, on whether you are preparing for pregnancy.

If you’re thinking about getting a screening test, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about what the test is, what it costs and what happens if you need further testing. Together, decide what’s right for you.

Adult screenings are intended to find health issues as you age. And many are part of your annual preventive exam.* Talk with your doctor about which screenings are right for you.

Condition and disease preventive screenings:

Alcohol and tobacco use

  • Who should be screened? Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually

Blood pressure

  • Who should be screened? Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually

Breast cancer

  • Who should be screened? Women, aged 50 – 74
  • When and how often?  Mammogram every 2 years. Talk with your doctor to decide if you need them more often.1

Cervical cancer

  • Who should be screened? Women, beginning at age 21
  • When and how often?  Pap smear for women 21 – 65 years of age every 3 years. Women 30 – 65 years of age may have a Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years2

Cholesterol

  • Who should be screened? Everyone, beginning at age 35
  • When and how often? Annually

Colorectal cancer

  • Who should be screened? Everyone, beginning at age 45
  • When and how often? Every 10 years. Talk to your doctor.

Depression

  • Who should be screened?  Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually.

Diabetes

  • Who should be screened?  Everyone
  • When and how often? Glucose test every 3 years. Talk to your doctor if you are at increased risk.

Lung cancer

  • Who should be screened?  Current or former smokers, aged 55 – 80**
  • When and how often? Annually

Osteoporosis

  • Who should be screened? Women, under age 65
  • When and how often? Every 2 years for postmenopausal

Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Who should be screened? Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually

Vision

  • Who should be screened? Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually

Weight

  • Who should be screened? Everyone
  • When and how often? Annually

Further reading and information

Count on us for support

Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions, including cancer. Register or login to the Health Hub to contact the CARE team

At Aetna International, we believe in helping people on the path to better health.

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

* Plan features and availability may vary by location and group size. Not all health services are covered. See plan documents for a complete description of benefits, exclusions, limitations and conditions of coverage. Plan features are subject to change.

** Smokers or former smokers with a 30 pack per year or more smoking history and, if a former smoker, has quit within the past 15 years.

1 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Final recommendation statement. Breast cancer: screening. November 2018.

2 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Final recommendation statement. Cervical cancer: screening. August 2018.

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