Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Cervical Cancer Diagnosis


Screening Guidelines for Cervical Cancer from American Cancer Society
  • Screening should begin about three years after a woman begins having intercourse, but no later than age 21.

  • Women should have a regular Pap test every year or a liquid-based Pap test every two or three years. At or after age 30, women who have had three normal test results in a row may be screened every two to three years. A health care professional may suggest more frequent testing if you have certain risk factors such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or a weakened immune system.

  • The combination of HPV testing with a Pap test should be considered as an alternative for routine screening in women 30 and older.

  • Women age 65 to 70 and older who have had three or more normal Pap test results and no abnormal results in the last 10 years may stop screening.

  • Screening after a total hysterectomy (with removal of the cervix) is not necessary unless the surgery was performed as a treatment for cervical cancer or pre-cancer, or there was a prior history of abnormal Pap smears. Women who have had a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix should continue cervical cancer screening at least until age 65-70.

For more information about cervical cancer, see the next page.

More to Explore