Screenings & Tests
There are numerous procedures that help early detection of potential reproductive health problems. They can be grouped by age:
If you’re 21 or older and have a cervix, get a Pap test every 3 years to screen for cervical cancer. If you’re 30 or older, get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.
If you have a cervix, get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.
Beginning at age 50, get screened for breast cancer via mammograms every 2 years. If you have a cervix, get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.
Continue getting screened for breast cancer every 2 years through age 74. Age 75 and older, ask your doctor if you still need to get mammograms or Pap tests.
Women can and should also perform regular self breast-exams on a monthly basis. The discovery of a new lump or change in breast tissue or skin should be discussed with a doctor or physician. For more information on how to perform a self exam, please visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website.
The most common male reproductive cancers include penile, testicular, and prostate. There are no screening tests for testicular or penile cancer. Therefore, it is important for men to see a healthcare provider about any symptoms. Early detection increases the chances of success.
How can you detect any abnormalities that would indicate testicular cancer?
Testicular self-examinations (TSE) is an easy way to check your testicles for any unusual lumps or bumps — which can often be the first sign of testicular cancer. For more information on how to perform a self exam, please visit the Testicular Cancer Society website.
What about prostate cancer?
There are two screening tests for prostate cancer:
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test—blood test for PSA, a protein made by the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can increase the PSA level. Conditions that are not cancerous can also increase the PSA.
- Rectal exam—the health care provider inserts a gloved finger into rectum to check for lumps in the prostate.
Back to Everyone
Also be aware of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), which can be passed from one person to another via sexual contact. We encourage you to check out our STI Basic to learn more!
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least one HIV test for everyone ages 13 to 64. This is because approximately 250,000 people are living with undiagnosed HIV in the United States. All sexually active people and their partners should be tested for HIV and other STIs before starting sexual activity.