How Often Should You Have a Cervical Cancer Screening?

Cervical cancer screening is needed for both the prevention and early detection of cancer. The American Cancer Society has released guidelines to let women know how often they need to get this screening. It is critical to follow the guidelines to protect your overall health.

When to get a cervical cancer screening 

Cervical cancer screening guidelines change by age and need. Women need to identify their age group and other factors to determine how often to get screened.

Women aged 21-29

Screening for cervical cancer should begin at the age of 21. Women need to get a Pap smear every three years from the ages of 21 to 29. If the test comes back as abnormal, the woman might also have to undergo an HPV test.

Women aged 30-65

Women have two options for screening for cervical cancer once they reach the age of 30. They can get a Pap smear and HPV test every five years, or they can get a Pap test every three years. They must continue this testing until they reach the age of 65.

After the age of 65

Women do not have to get cervical cancer screening after they reach the age of 65 as long as the guidelines are met. First, they need to have maintained regular screenings over the last 10 years. If they have not, they need to get a screening for cancer.

Second, they can only stop screenings if precancers have not been found in the last two decades. Screenings need to continue for 20 years after finding precancerous cells. Then, the OBGYN will let the patient know if further screenings are required. If they are, the gynecologist will set a schedule for the patient.

Hysterectomies and cancer screenings

After receiving a total hysterectomy, women do not need to undergo cervical cancer screenings any longer. There is an exception to this rule, though. If the woman underwent the hysterectomy due to precancer or cancer of the cervix, additional screenings are still required, even if the cervix has been removed.

Some women keep their cervixes when undergoing a hysterectomy. These women still require cancer screening.

What about HPV vaccination?

HPV vaccination is becoming increasingly popular with women. Many believe they do not need to undergo cervical cancer screening after receiving this vaccination, but that is not true. Women should still follow the guidelines set forth for their age groups.

High risk means more screenings

Some women are at a higher risk for cervical cancer than others. Risk factors include a family history of cervical cancer, HIV infections and organ transplant recipients. These women should talk to their OBGYN to determine how often they need to be screened.

Stay healthy with cervical cancer screenings

Patients should talk to their OBGYN about the guidelines set forth by the American Cancer Society to determine if those are the right guidelines for them. If not, the gynecologist will go over a testing schedule that will meet the patient's individual needs.

Are you considering a cervical cancer screening in the Marlton area? Get more information at https://lindenbergcancer.com.

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