I Am a Woman under 20

Taking Care Of You

No matter what your age, taking care of yourself is always important. Choose your age category to learn what is important for you.

Screening Guidelines for women under 20

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure reading at least every 2 years. (For early detection of high blood pressure (hypertension). This can put you at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney damage.) 

Breast Cancer

Monthly self-breast exam after the first day of each menstrual period.

Most women begin breast cancer screening at age 40. Consider screening earlier if you are at high risk of breast cancer. For example, you have mother, sister or grandmother with breast cancer, a personal history of breast cancer, or a mutation in one of the breast cancer genes. Mammograms and other imaging techniques can detect suspicious changes when they are too small to be detected by physical exam.

Cervical Cancer

Pap test at least every three years once you start having sexual intercourse to detect cancer and precancerous changes of your cervix.

Colon and rectal Cancer

Screening is usually recommended starting at age 50, but consider screening earlier if you are high risk for colon/rectal cancer. For example, you have a personal or family history of colon/rectal cancer or polyps or if you have inflammatory bowel disease.

Common screening tests include barium enema, colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test, flexible sigmoidoscopy to detect cancer and benign growths (polyps) on the inside wall of your colon that may become cancerous. 


Lipid test every 5 years. This simple blood test measures the level of cholesterol and triglycerides (the lipids). Undesirable levels of lipids (fats) raise your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Dental Health

Dental checkup annually to detect tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.


Undergo a fasting blood sugars test if you’re at increased risk of diabetes. You may be at increased risk if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, obesity or a family history of diabetes. Your results will indicate how often you need this testing. 

Eye Health

Have an eye exam at least once before age 40.


Measure your height and weight to determine your BMI (body mass index). People who are overweight are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and risk factors for other diseases.