Here's a Health Checklist Every Woman in Her 20s Should See

April 28th 2017

Almie Rose

If you're a woman in her 20s and have great solid good acceptable health insurance, there are a few things you may want to check on before you turn 30.

30 bday candles

Rose Taroyan, MD, MPH, gave ATTN: some tips on things you should get screened for before you're 30:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, hepatitis)
  • Depression and anxiety (screened with questionnaires like GAD-7, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment)
  • Breast cancer (risk assessment, genetic counseling and genetic testing)
  • Cervical cancer (via pap smears)
  • Melanoma (with periodic skin exams)
  • Latent Tuberculosis infection screening

The clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California (USC) also explained there's "anticipatory guidance counseling," which is when you talk to your doctor about what supplements you should take (such as "folic acid intake during child bearing years"), as well as talking to your doctor about "healthy dietary habits."

It may seem like a lot, but it doesn't mean you should worry. "Most 20-30 year olds are healthy," she said.

"The cervical cancer screen is the most important," Taroyan said.

She went on to explain that "the biggest cancer in that age range is cervical cancer, which can be prevented by routine screening with pap smears that can be done during a routine physical by either the primary physician or gynecologist."

But if you're concerned about a family history of cancer, that's when you should sit down with your doctor and look into additional screenings.

doctor's office

Some screenings, however, aren't available to women until after they've reached a certain age, such as lung cancer.

"Usually high risk patients over age 50 who smoke or used to smoke and quit within 15 years, at the moment, get Low dose CT chest screening annually for lung cancer," Taroyan explained.

"[That's because there's] not enough funding and research studies to start younger. This is something new that started in 2012 by American Lung Association. Before that it was not done. Recommendations are now followed by all primary care physicians. There needs to be set guidelines for insurances to cover screenings. At this moment, it is not recommended for any one younger. But if we were to start screening this age range, low dose CT scans would be the most effective way. "

Then there are potential health issues that simply don't have screenings, such as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Cardiovascular disease (also known as heart disease) can refer to a series of issues, such as heart attacks, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems, the American Heart Association explains.


But that doesn't mean it's hopeless.

"The best way to prevent CVD is managing risk factors such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol or high blood pressure, healthy weight with measure of BMI, healthy diet, not smoking and increased physical activity," Taroyan advised. "All of these risk factors are modifiable and screened through regular doctor visits."

So before you leave your 20s behind, think about giving yourself the best birthday gift you can — the gift of health.