Detecting changes in cells in the cervix as early as possible can prevent cancer or make it easier to treat. Tests including a Pap test and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test are used to look for these changes. (A Pap test is also called a Pap smear, cervical cytology testing, or liquid-based cytology.) The doctors at MSK agree with the screening recommendations of major organizations focusing on gynecological health, including the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the US Preventive Services Task Force.
|Women younger than 21||No routine Pap test screening|
|Women age 21 to 29||Pap tests every three years|
|Women age 30 to 65||Pap test alone every three years or an HPV test along with a Pap test every five years|
|Women over 65||No screening necessary if previous screening guidelines have been followed and the woman is not at a high risk for cervical cancer|
Special Considerations for More Frequent Screening
Some women should be screened more often. These include women who have a weakened or compromised immune system, who have had precancerous lesions, or whose mothers used the drug diethylstilbestrol while they were pregnant. Talk with your doctor to learn if these circumstances may apply to you.