For the following diseases, the United States Preventive Services Task Force states that there are effective screening tests and that people should get them.
Cervical cancer: The task force strongly recommends screening for cervical cancer in women who have been sexually active and have a cervix until the age of 65. However, the panel also points out that there is no direct evidence that annual screening achieves better health outcomes than screening every three years. Most medical organizations in the United States recommend that annual Pap smears be performed until two or three in a row are normal; after that, the interval between screenings may be lengthened.
Colorectal cancer: Men and women 50 years of age or older should get screened for colorectal cancer. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, people should get either a colonoscopy every 10 years or a sigmoidoscopy and a test to detect blood in the stool every five years.
High blood pressure: Adults ages 18 and older should be screened for high blood pressure, but there is no agreed-upon interval between tests. One influential report recommends screening every two years for people who have blood pressure lower than 130/85 and at more frequent intervals for people with higher baseline readings.
Lipid disorders: The task force strongly recommends cholesterol testing in men ages 35 years and older and women ages 45 years and older who have heart-disease risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, or a family history of cardiovascular disease. The task force makes no recommendation for healthy younger adults in the absence of known risk factors for coronary heart disease.
Breast cancer: Women ages 40 or older should get a mammogram every one to two years.
Osteoporosis: Women ages 65 and older should be screened routinely for osteoporosis. (Screening should begin at age 60 for women identified as being at increased risk for fractures.) The optimal interval for repeat screening is not clear, according to the task force.
Tobacco: All adults should be asked by their doctors whether they use tobacco, and smokers should receive an intervention designed to end their tobacco habit.
Alcohol: All adults should receive screening and behavioral counseling interventions to reduce alcohol misuse by adults, including pregnant women, in primary care settings.
Obesity: The task force recommends that clinicians screen all adult patients for obesity and offer intensive counseling and behavioral interventions to promote sustained weight loss for obese adults.