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.
- Cervical Cancer Treatment
- The Basics of Cervical Cancer
- Understanding Cervical Cancer Interactive
- How the Cervical Cancer Vaccine Works
Last medical review: 6/06
Last date updated: 1/07
Copyright 2007 National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC)