Everyone has this question. Some of you may have heard that the recommendations for pap testing have changed. These guidelines are developed by the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They were updated this spring. Here are the major points.
- Age Less than 21: no pap
- Age 21-29: pap every three years
- Age 29-65: pap AND HPV test every five years (preferred), pap alone every three years (acceptable)
- Age greater than 65: no pap
It is important to remember that a pap test is just collecting the cells during a pelvic exam and only screens for cancer of the cervix. You should still have a yearly, age appropriate annual exam with your physician. These guidelines may not apply to women whom have had abnormal testing or treatment in the past. If you have questions I would encourage you to make an appointment with your physician to discuss your specific risks and needs.
Submitted by Dr. Darin Gregory