The Pap test is a cervical cancer screening test. If a woman has regular Pap tests, she can detect most cervical cancers early.
Screening should begin when a person reaches the age of 21.
Following the first test:
- A Pap test should be done every three years to check for cervical cancer.
- You can be tested every 5 years if you are over 30 and have also had HPV testing done, and both the Pap test and the HPV test are normal. The virus HPV (human papillomavirus) causes genital warts and cervical cancer.
- After the age of 65 to 70, most women can stop having Pap tests if they have had three negative tests in the previous ten years.
- If you've had a total hysterectomy (uterus and cervix removed) and haven't had an abnormal Pap test, cervical cancer, or other pelvic cancer, you might not need a Pap test. Talk to your healthcare provider about it.