We recommend annual pelvic and breast exams for women over the age of 21.
Your annual exam may include:
- A Pap smear which takes a sample of cells from the surface of your cervix to test for cervical cancer. During your Pap smear you may also be tested for Human papilloma virus (HPV).
- A breast exam to detect early breast cancer. We recommend a yearly mammogram for all women over 50. If you are between the ages of 40 and 50, ask your health care provider how often you should have a mammogram.
- A pelvic exam to look at your cervix and vaginal canal. Your provider will feel your ovaries and uterus to make sure they are healthy.
- Blood or urine tests to screen for high cholesterol, protein, and sugar imbalances or other concerns.
During your exam, you can discuss birth control, sexual health, domestic violence, or any other issues with your provider.
Exams and menopause
If you are undergoing menopause, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, or have gone through menopause, we recommend the following in addition to your regular annual exam:
- Colorectal cancer screenings (colonoscopy) every 5 to 10 years.
- Mammograms every year for women over the age of 50. If you are between the ages of 40 and 50, ask your provider how often you should have a mammogram.
- A glucose test every three years after the age of 45.
- A cholesterol test every five years after the age of 45.
- Flu vaccine annually.
- Tetanus-diphtheria booster every ten years.
- Discussion of menopause treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy.
Free exams in Vermont and New Hampshire
The You First program, sponsored by the Vermont Department of Health, offers free breast and cervical cancer screenings for Vermont women who qualify. Learn more about the program and if you qualify.
The Let No Woman Be Overlooked Breast and Cervical Cancer Program provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to women who are residents of New Hampshire and meet certain requirements. For more information, call 800-852-3345 extension 4931.