A Beginner's Guide to Essential Health Screening Tests for Women

Women’s health changes as they age. They are more prone to some health issues when reaching a certain age. Therefore, the precautions they may need to take to maintain their health may differ based on their current age. This article shares some screening tests women in Singapore should regularly take, depending on their age.

Women in their twenties

Women in their twenties, especially those who are sexually active or had past sexual encounters, should get tested for cervical cancer since they are at risk of being infected with the HPV or human papillomavirus. HPV is a type of virus that can cause precancerous changes in a woman’s cervix, leading to cervical cancer.

Women can protect themselves from cervical cancer by taking a Pap smear test at least once every three years after they reach the age of twenty-five and onwards. When they are twenty-six years old, they can opt for the HPV vaccination.

While the Pap smear test is relatively painless, some women may feel a bit uncomfortable. During the test, cells will be taken from the vagina and cervix to be tested for precancerous lesions. Cervical cancer has over ninety per cent curability when detected in the early stages.

Another test women may need to take when they reach this age is the blood pressure test. Women with high blood pressure will place more strain on their arteries and heart, and if they do not take measures to control their blood pressure, their arteries get damaged and become weaker over time. Damaged or weakened arteries will become less elastic and are more prone to clogging up, which raises an individual’s risk of stroke and heart attack.

Women with higher blood pressure or are at risk of severe coronary risk factors, including diabetes mellitus, may need to get checked more regularly.

Women in their thirties

Apart from the Pap smear test, women in their thirties should consider opting for the HPV testing to detect HPV strains that may cause cervical cancer. Specifically, these strains are types 16 and 18. Recent research found that HPV infection precedes most cases of cervical cancer and carcinoma-in-situ.

Women who tested positive for HPV would be referred to a recommended women’s clinic Singapore or gynaecologist for a more detailed cervical test. If the result is negative, they should repeat the test every five years.

Women in their forties

Essential health screenings women in their forties should take are screenings for diabetes mellitus, cholesterol, and breast cancer. The test used to screen diabetes mellitus is the fasting blood glucose test while fasting lipid blood test is used to screen for high cholesterol or hyperlipidemia. On the other hand, tests to screen for breast cancer include a mammogram and clinical breast examination.

Women should get tested for fasting blood glucose and lipids once every three years and once a year for breast cancer.

Women in their fifties

In addition to breast cancer screening, women who are fifty years old and above should also opt for a colorectal cancer screening exam. They may take the faecal immunochemical test and colonoscopy once per year and the computed tomography and colonography once every five years if their initial test results are negative. Nevertheless, their healthcare providers may advise them otherwise, depending on their situations.

Moreover, women in their sixties should, as advised by their physician, take eye examination to screen for glaucoma, which is typically known as the silent thief of sight.

Women in their sixties

Women aged sixty-five and above are recommended to get the bone mineral density scan to screen for osteoporosis, a disease where the bone becomes less dense and brittle. The test’s frequency will depend on the recommendation of their healthcare providers.

Choosing the right Singapore women’s clinic and women health screening packages in Singapore

Different Singapore women’s clinics offer different women’s health screening packages. Women should take their time to determine the types of tests they need and look for a clinic or health centre that provides the necessary tests within a competitive price point. Other factors they should consider when choosing a women’s clinic are the clinic’s location, reputation, hospital affiliation, medical facility and services.