Happy female workout team at the gym

If you’re a woman, visits to the physician for your annual exam requires going beyond checking of weight and cholesterol screening as you age. The longer you live, the more susceptible you become to conditions and diseases that might have been prevented—or perhaps treated to improve the quality of life—if only common health screenings had been done.

So, which tests do you need, and when?

Let’s take a look at the top six must-have health tests for women.

These are some good guidelines to follow….

Blood sugar test. Pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes have arrived at near-epidemic levels in America, and people with high insulin levels could be more likely to develop pancreatic, urinary tract and skin cancer, even if diabetes doesn’t exist. Starting at age 45—or earlier, if you have a family history of diabetes or if you are overweight—you should receive a fasting glucose test and take the test again every three years after that.

Colonoscopy. Almost 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. One-third of them will die from the disease. On a positive note, when the colon cancer is caught in the early stages, the chance of survival is very high. The standard screening for colon cancer is a colonoscopy, a technique in which a long, lit tube is inserted into the colon which helps your physician find abnormal clusters of cells before they have a chance to turn cancerous. Current guidelines require colonoscopies be done every ten years beginning at age fifty. If you have risk factors—a history of colon cancer in your family, for example—your doctor may want to start testing you sooner….and possibly more often.

Full-body skin exam. If you don’t already see a dermatologist, add one to your list of specialists and schedule regular yearly exams. He or she should examine your entire body for any visible signs of skin cancer. It’s also a good idea to stand undressed in a well-lit room in front of a mirror and check yourself every month.

Mammograms. It is recommended by the American Cancer Society that women have yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40, to detect the possibility of breast cancer. Earlier exams may be worthwhile if you have a family history of breast or other types of cancer.

Pap smears and HPV tests. It is recommended that women get a Pap smear at their gynecologist’s office yearly before the age of thirty to detect cervical cancer. From that time forward, if three normal tests are given in a row, the Pap smear should then be done every two to three years.

Pelvic exam. Your ob-gyn should be doing a pelvic exam at your annual or biannual visit but you should make an appointment to have one right away if you’re experiencing any pelvic pain, extreme bloating, vaginal spotting or bleeding, or an uncontrollable and frequent need to urinate for more than a couple of weeks.

Don’t delay! By getting the appropriate tests and exams, you may possibly prevent a deadly condition down the road.