How Often Do You Really Need Pap Smears?

Yes. In general, women over 65 can put off testing if they’ve never had cervical cancer or abnormal cells and if the previous two to three consecutive screenings were negative. However, there is some existing research that says cervical cancer screening is still important for women over 65.

For younger women, here’s how often you should get a Pap smear under certain conditions. If you have a compromised immune system, are HIV-positive, had cervical cancer in the past, or were exposed to DES, a hormone given to pregnant women before birth between 1940 and 1971, you should Screening should be done more often. Women who have had a hysterectomy, which involves removal of the cervix, do not need screening, unless the hysterectomy was performed because of cervical cancer. Check with your doctor to be sure what’s right for you.

Here’s an important reminder: Cervical cancer is preventable, and National Cancer Institute Worried about the huge drop in screening. While they aren’t clear why this is happening, one recent study found the most often they heard was that women didn’t know they needed screening. Women who were least likely to be tested were Asian, Hispanic, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those who did not have health insurance and/or lived in rural areas.

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