Recommended Screening Tests and Vaccines

The following list outlines the screening tests and vaccines recommended for people over age 50.

ColonoscopyFor men and women aged 50 to 80Recommended every 10 years for most people (more often if you have a family history of colon cancer or have had polyps in the past). Helps to identify and remove polyps before the turn into cancer. If you prefer not to have a colonoscopy, another option is to test your stool annually for blood using special cards.
MammographyFor women aged 40 to 75Recommended annually for women up to age 75 (some continue screening into the 80's in very healthy women). Helps to find cancers before the grow large enough to feel
Pap smearsFor women aged 21 to 65Helps to identify precancerous cells on the cervix before they progress to cervical cancer. For women aged 21 to 30, screening every 2 years is suggested. For women aged 30 to 65, Pap smears are recommended every 2 to 3 years (they are NOT needed annually). If the test for HPV (human papillomavirus) is included with the Pap smear, testing every 3 years is suggested. Most experts recommend AGAINST continued Pap smear testing after age 65 if a woman has had normal Pap smears throughout her life.
PSA and prostate examsFor men aged 50 to 75May help to reduce death from prostate cancer. There is considerable controversy about the effectiveness of PSA in identifying "meaningful" cancers. Dr. Kney will give you a handout that discusses this controversy. You may choose NOT to be screened.
Shingles vaccineAfter age 50Given once. Helps to reduce your chance of getting shingles
Pneumonia vaccineAt age 65Given once at age 65. For people with certain illnesses, we do give the vaccine before age 65, and then a second time at age 65. Helps to prevent some pneumonias.
Tetanus shot (Tdap)Every 10 yearsHelps to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)
Abdominal UltrasoundAt age 65 in men who smokedThis test is used to find aneurysms (swellings) in the aorta (the big artery going down from your heart to your legs). Men who smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime are at higher risk for this problem, and a single screening ultrasound is recommended around age 65.
Diabetes screeningEvery 5 yearsFor patients at significant risk (obesity, strong family history of diabetes), checking sugars more often is suggested.
CholesterolEvery 5 yearsA lipid panel (including good and bad cholesterol counts) is suggested every 5 years. More frequent screening is suggested for those at higher risk of heart problems and strokes (obesity, strong family history of heart attack or stroke, smokers, hypertension).
High blood pressureEvery yearMore frequent testing in those with "pre-hypertension" - blood pressure greater than 130/80. A blood pressure of greater than 140/90 meets a diagnosis of hypertension.
Glaucoma testingEvery 2-3 yearsYou should see an eye doctor every 2 to 3 years to have your eye pressure checked.