Health Screenings

Prevention is about taking steps to avoid illness and finding disease early. An important part of preventing illness is receiving health screenings appropriate for you. Screening helps doctors identify conditions in their early stages, when treatment is more likely to succeed and to cost you less.

Why Is Prevention Important?

Fewer than half of adults over the age of 50 in Washington state have received the recommended screenings and preventive care, such as screening for colorectal cancer, mammograms, Pap smears, and flu shots. If Washington state improved to the rate of the best-performing state, tens of thousands of additional adults would receive the care they need to help prevent and detect disease.

What can patients do?

  • Plan and get regular preventive care visits with your doctor.
  • If you are woman ages 50 to 74, mammograms are recommended every other year.
  • If you are age 50 or older, talk with your doctor about testing for colon or colorectal cancer, then follow through with getting the recommended test. This applies to both women and men.
  • If you are a woman age 21 to 65, have a Pap test for cervical cancer at least every three years, or on a schedule recommended by your doctor.
  • If you are a sexually active woman up through age 25, get tested for Chlamydia at least once a year.

What should doctors do?

  • Schedule regular preventive care visits for all patients.
  • Offer information about recommended screening tests.
  • Recommend immunizations and flu shots; discuss activity and nutrition; review medication; and screen patients for depression, substance abuse and use of alcohol or tobacco.
  • Work with patients to set goals to improve health and manage chronic conditions.
  • Track your patients over time to determine if they receive the recommended screenings.
  • Send patients reminders when they are due for preventive tests.

Making sure you get the right preventive care is a team effort between you and your doctor. Do your part by getting informed about prevention and taking action.

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Health Finder Quick Guide to Healthy Living

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)


(Medline Plus)

Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age

(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Tu guía de salud: consejos simples para una vida saludable

(Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Estados Unidos)

Women: Stay Healthy at Any Age

(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

Your Primary Care Doctor

(Own Your Health)