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"At what age should I start getting screened for ovarian cancer?"

ZocdocAnswersAt what age should I start getting screened for ovarian cancer?

Question

I'm 23 years old, female. I know that there are a lot of cancers related to female body parts. When should I start getting screened for ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc.?

Answer

These are really great questions to raise with your primary care doctor or your OB GYN doctor during your annual physical examination, as one of the main functions of the annual exam is to make sure that you are all caught up on health screening tests and other basic preventative health care, including cancer screening when it is appropriate. Generally speaking, a woman who is 23 years old would not need to be screened for breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Women your age should be screened for cervical cancer, which is done with a pap smear. Screening for breast cancer does not tend to happen until much later in life, typical after 40-50 years of age. Exactly when screening is started should be based on a discussion with your doctor and your various risk factors, such as family history. In special situations, such as if you have a very strong family history of breast cancer, screening might be started before 40 years of age. Ovarian cancer is not typically screened for in women of any age, except by regularly going to see your doctor and having check ups. Your primary care doctor will be able to answer any more questions you have about cancer screening.

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