In Your 50s

Now is the time to cultivate your vitality in life and in health.

These are guidelines only. Your healthcare provider will personalize the timing of each test to meet your specific healthcare needs.


General health

  • Full checkup — Including weight and height.
  • Sleep habits — Discuss at your annual exam.
  • Thyroid (TSH) test — Discuss with your healthcare provider.
  • HIV screening — Get this test if you are at risk for HIV infection (unprotected sex, sexually transmitted disease, or used drugs with needles).
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) screening — Get this one-time screening if you were born between 1945 and 1965.

Heart health

  • Blood pressure test — At least every two years.
  • Cholesterol panel — Total, LDL, HDL and triglycerides; discuss with your healthcare provider.

Bone health

  • Bone density screen — Discuss with your healthcare provider.


  • Blood glucose or A1c test — Get screened if you have sustained blood pressure greater than 135/80, take medicine for high blood pressure, or are at risk for developing diabetes.

Breast health

  • Breast awareness — Know how your breasts normally look and feel so you can report any changes to your healthcare provider.
  • Clinical breast exam — Yearly.
  • Mammogram — Yearly, starting at the age of 40.

Gynecological health

  • Pap test — At least every three years.
  • Pelvic exam — Yearly.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests —Both partners should get tested for STIs, including HIV, before initiating sexual intercourse. Get a chlamydia test if you have new or multiple partners.

Mental health screening

  • Discuss with your healthcare provider.

Digestive/Colorectal health

  • Fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy — Talk to your healthcare provider about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.
  • Colonoscopy — Starting at the age of 50, get screened for colorectal cancer. Repeat every 10 years or as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Eye and ear health

  • Comprehensive eye exam —Every 2-4 years until age 55, then every 1-2 years.
  • Hearing test — Every three years.

Skin health

  • Skin exam — Monthly self-exam of skin and moles and as part of a routine full checkup with your healthcare provider.

Oral health

  • Dental cleaning and exam— Discuss with your dentist the right frequency for you.


  • Seasonal influenza vaccine — Yearly.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster vaccine — Every 10 years.
  • Herpes zoster vaccine — (to prevent shingles) — One time only; discuss with your healthcare provider.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Spirit_of_Women_Decade_Cards_50s (PDF)