How Often Should I Get a Pap Smear?
A Pap smear (or Pap test) is a diagnostic test that is used to screen for precancerous changes in cells that could eventually cause cervical cancer. Many women understand that receiving a pap smear from time to time is important, but do you know just how often you should get one?
The answer to this question may vary depending on who you ask and your unique health situation. But, here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to say on the matter:
- Women ages 21 to 29 – Pap smears should begin at age 21. If your results are normal, you may be told that you can wait three years for your next Pap smear.
- Women ages 30 to 65 – Continue following your physician’s guidance. You may be able to wait three years between each Pap smear depending on your results and other factors, such as family history and overall health. Your physician may also recommend testing your collected cells for HPV (human papilloma virus), a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can leave you more vulnerable to cervical cancer and other conditions.
- Women ages 65 and older – Your physician may tell you that you no longer require a Pap smear if you have had several consecutive tests with no abnormalities or if you have had your cervix removed during a total hysterectomy.
Women’s Health Services at Tufts Medical Center Community Care
Tufts Medical Center Community Care is a multispecialty medical group with a growing team of women’s health specialists, including OB/GYNs who provide Pap smears and other important medical services to women throughout north suburban Boston. To schedule an appointment, contact our friendly professionals or reserve one online at your convenience.