Five quick wins

Easy (and proven) ways to protect your health

We get it. Life gets busy, motivation dips and taking care of your health can fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

If you’re asking yourself, ‘What’s one easy thing I can do for my health?’ why not consider a health check?

We know that prevention matters, and some of these checks are so convenient you can do them at home.

1. Look out for your bowel cancer test kit

An older woman collecting the mail from her letterbox.

Bowel cancer can develop without you noticing, so screening is important. If you’re aged 50 to 74, you’ll receive a free testing kit in the mail every two years.

You can find out if you’re due or overdue for a test by connecting to the National Cancer Screening Register (NCSR) participant portal via your myGov account. Or, if you’ve moved house or lost your last kit, you can quickly update your details or get a replacement kit here.

Illustration of a dragonfly.

This is a health check that you can do at home yourself. After posting it back, you’ll get your result in the mail a few weeks later.

Just keep in mind that if a family member has had bowel cancer or you experience symptoms, such as blood in your poo or changes to your bowel habits, it’s important to speak to your doctor.

2. Due for a cervical screening test? There’s now a self-collection option

A female doctor talking to a patient about cervical screening test options.

Did you know the Cervical Screening Program has recently expanded to include a do-it-yourself test? A health professional can help you decide which screening option is best for you.

Screening is recommended every five years between ages 25 and 74. If you don’t know whether you’re due or overdue for a test, phone your GP or visit the NCSR participant portal via your myGov account.

This video takes you through the cervical screening self-collection option.

3. Get your blood pressure checked

A woman having her blood pressure checked.

A blood pressure check is one of the easiest health checks you can do. It’s quick and as simple as rolling up your shirt sleeve. Checks are recommended every two years from age 18, or more often if at increased risk. High blood pressure is linked to heart disease (one of the biggest killers of women in Australia), so regular checks are important.

If you can’t get to your GP or health clinic, some pharmacies offer blood pressure checks. It’s worth phoning ahead, as you may need to make a booking and pay a fee.

If your blood pressure is high, speak to your doctor about what to do.

“Our bodies and health change over time and we need to be able to manage this. Getting regular health checks can make a big difference to your future.”
Dr Fiona Jane, Jean Hailes GP

4. Book a free breast screen

According to Jean Hailes GP Dr Fiona Jane, “breast screening allows for early detection of small cancers before they can be felt by a woman or her doctor”. The test “only takes about 15 minutes”.

If you’re aged 50 to 74, you’ll be invited for a free breast screen every two years. If you’re outside of this age range, or if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, your doctor can help you decide if breast screening is right for you. (Women aged 40 to 49 and 75 and older can also get free breast screenings.)

Remember, if you experience any unusual changes to your breast or breasts at any age, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

For breast screen appointments, visit BreastScreen Australia.

5. Check your mental health

Sometimes, normal emotions like sadness and worry take over, interfering with our daily lives. It can be difficult to know when to get help. The mental health check-in is an easy way to measure your feelings, and to find support should you need it. The best part is you can do it online whenever it’s convenient.

Health checks for women - a guide

Not sure what other checks to get, and when? Check out our handy health checks guide for women.

© 2023 Jean Hailes Foundation. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without written permission of the copyright owner. Contact:

Words by Kate Cross. Illustrations by Tam Bower.

Published September 2023

This article is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health gratefully acknowledges the support of the Australian Government.

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