Well Women Exam

The American Cancer Society advises that women follow the following guidelines in order to help detect signs of cervical cancer as early as possible. Doing so can also to identify find pre-cancers that may be treated to prevent cervical cancer from developing:

Pap Smears

It is recommended that women, once they reach age 21, should start receiving cervical cancer screening. For women between the age of 21 to 29, regular pap smears are recommended every 3 years.

Starting at age 30, a routine screening is recommended every 3 years and should continue up until the age of 65. (This is provided that testing does not reveal abnormal results.)

pap smear

over 65 years of age

Women who are over 65 years of age with a normal pap history typically may stop undergoing cervical cancer screenings so long as they have not had any significant pre-cancers.

By identifying signs of cancer very early, a pap smear serves to eliminate the risks that any pre-cancer or cancer cells might spread to other areas of your body. This critical identification can help to increase your chances of recovery and cancer survival.

Women who have received a total hysterectomy

Removal of the cervix and the uterus – can stop pap smears. The exception is if the hysterectomy was performed as a treatment method for cervical pre-cancers (or other type of cancer). Women who’ve had a hysterectomy without the removal of the cervix, which is known as a supra-cervical hysterectomy, should usually continue cervical cancer screenings in accordance with the guidelines mentioned above on this page.

You can always schedule a pap smear with your physician but note that insurance may not necessarily cover it. If you believe you would like to get a pap but you’re not “due” be sure to check with your insurer before your visit.

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