Preventive Care Can Save Your Life: Five Health Tests Every Woman Should Know About

May 9, 2024

Preventive care is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Along with getting enough exercise and eating healthy meals, getting an annual check-up can add years to a person’s life. In fact, the CDC estimates that over 100,000 lives could be saved in the U.S. every year just through preventative care. Unfortunately, fewer than ten percent of Americans undergo routine preventive screenings. 

When it comes to women’s health, preventative care is vital. Not getting an annual check-up means not getting the tests that can detect cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and a host of other health issues. These tests are like little investigators, detecting the myriad reasons behind someone’s exhaustion, carb cravings, mood swings, weight gain (or loss) and even fleeing follicles. That’s right, anyone who is worried about thinning hair should get a blood test.

There are a number of tests for women’s health. Most aren’t performed every year. Not every test is right for every woman. Still, these are the five tests every woman should know about. 

  1. Cancer Screening

Every year, nearly 14,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer while over 4,000 die from the disease. This form of cancer is preventable through early detection. In fact, over the past 50 years, screening for cervical cancer helped cut the incidence rate of the disease in half. Unfortunately for women’s health in the U.S., rates have gone up by nearly two percent a year amongst those most likely to get the disease – women aged between 30 and 44.

The Pap test was once performed annually but it’s now recommended that it be done every three years. This test to detect abnormal cells on the cervix is one of the best ways to prevent cervical cancer. 

Unfortunately, until recently it was impossible to accurately screen for most cancers. That’s why the development of GRAIL’s Galleri test is so significant. Anyone who’s symptom free but concerned about cancer should consider getting this test. That’s because it uses just a few drops of blood to deliver early detection for more than 50 different types of cancer. It does this by utilizing “artificial intelligence analysis of cell-free DNA to recognize patterns associated with cancer and identify the likely tissue of origin,” as explained in the medical journal American Family Physician. 

Testing is the vital link between preventive care and women’s health. It’s also the best way to reduce cancer rates. If those rates decline in the future, many experts believe it will be due to improvements in early detection rather than novel treatments – one research team explained that “…a strong emphasis should be placed on prevention. Preventive actions bring benefits not only to the individual, but are an important aspect of health policy.” 

For women, one mainstay in early detection for breast cancer prevention has been the mammogram, a low-dose X-ray designed to discover small lumps that often aren’t noticeable during self-examination. Most women should get their first mammogram at age 40 but those with a history of breast cancer should get it sooner. Generally this test is done every year or two until age 70. Women with a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer should consider having a BRCA gene test which examines DNA changes that increase a woman’s risk for the disease. This test is available at Action Urgent Care clinics throughout the Bay Area. Your Annual Physical, typically covered by insurance, is easily accessible with just a click. You can schedule your appointment here.

  1. Sexual Health Check-ups

When it comes to preventive care, the test for human papilloma virus (HPV) – along with the Pap test –  is essential for preventing cervical cancer. Doctors recommend that most women begin getting HPV tests at age 30 – usually in conjunction with the Pap test. From then on, both the Pap test and the HPV test are done every five years.  

Women who are sexually active with multiple partners should undergo annual testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. They should also receive a blood test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) the virus that causes AIDS. For those in the Bay Area, Kyla offers low-cost STD testing through their Action Urgent Care Clinics. If you’re in the area, click the link and schedule your appointment today. 

  1. Heart Health Testing 

Cancer isn’t the biggest killer. It’s heart disease. Nearly 700,000 Americans die from it every year –– that’s one out of five deaths! Preventative care can go a long way toward reducing those numbers because simple changes to a woman’s exercise and eating routines can make a real difference in women’s health. However, it’s nearly impossible for her to know if she’s at risk because the disease is often completely free of symptoms. That’s why heart testing is so important. 

Another aspect of heart testing is when doctors examine their patient’s blood pressure during an annual physical. Getting a reading of 120/80 – the pressure of the heart when it beats (systolic) and between beats (diastolic) – is the ideal. Hypertension is anything above 130/80; anything between those two numbers is considered elevated. To keep a healthy heart, cholesterol should also be checked annually.

For those who are worried about their heart health and haven’t had a check-up in a while, Kyla offers cholesterol tests along with other tests that can indicate if someone is experiencing a decline in cardiovascular function.

  1. The Value of Cortisol Tests

When it comes to women’s health, cortisol testing can be extremely beneficial. Created by your adrenal glands, cortisol is often called the “stress hormone.” That’s why getting a test is an important component of preventive care. Elevated levels of cortisol is an important warning sign for a variety of tumors along with Cushing’s syndrome or hypercortisolism. 

Low levels of the hormone may indicate Addison’s disease. However, elevated cortisol levels can also be an indicator of persistent stress. The human body releases cortisol as part of its fight-or-flight response. In short bursts, cortisol can be extremely helpful. However, consistently elevated cortisol levels have been associated with weight gain, weakened immune systems, heart disease, and high blood sugar levels. That’s why an important component of women’s health is the at-home test offered by Kyla. Not only are cortisol levels tested but blood sugar and heart disease indicators are also examined from just a few drops of blood. 

  1. Important Tests for Women Over 40

Older women who haven’t had any issues are advised to discontinue screenings for cervical cancer after the age of 65. However, women over the age of 45 should be screened for colorectal cancer and diabetes. Women over the age of 65 should also get annual osteoporosis screenings. 

Women’s health is an important issue no matter the age. That’s why Kyla also offers tests for vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can help prevent issues with bone density.

Kyla believes preventive care is the key to a long and healthy life. By downloading the app and filling out a simple questionnaire, patients can interact with the company’s risk engine – which is data-driven and relies on machine learning to predict outcomes based on a patient’s lifestyle and medical history. Kyla is then able to craft a personalized healthcare journey focused on prevention. 

Kyla focuses on proactive health measures rather than reactive treatments, aiming to prevent future illnesses by promoting daily well-being, education, healthy habits, medically-validated tests, and preventive screenings with virtual doctor consultations from the comfort of your home. This comprehensive approach, particularly advantageous for women’s health, establishes an exceptional strategy.


  1. Reed, Paul. MD. “An Ounce of Prevention … Can Save a Person’s Life,”U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. August 26, 2022.
  2. “CDC Prevention Checklist –– Preventive Care: Everyone needs an ounce of prevention,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. May 31, 2017.
  3. Batarseh, Feras A et al. “Preventive healthcare policies in the US: solutions for disease management using Big Data Analytics.” Journal of Big Data.
  4.  “Key Statistics for Cervical Cancer,” American Cancer Society. January 17, 2024.
  5. “Basic Information About Cervical Cancer,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 21, 2023.
  6. Pyzocha, Natasha J. DO, FAWM, FAAFP. “Galleri Test for the Detection of Cancer,” American Family Physician. October 2022. Galleri test is a,the likely tissue of origin.
  7. Lewandowska, Anna et al. “Cancer Prevention – Review Paper.” Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine Vol. 28, no. 1, 2021, pp. 11-19.,116906,0,2.html
  8. “HPV Vaccine,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 16, 2023.