Breast Cancer Cervical Cancer Prevention Program
Why do I need a pap smear?
Cervical Cancer usually has no symptoms until after it is no longer able to be treated.
Pap smears detect changes that happen on the cervix before full blown cervical cancer (precancerous lesions).
This means treatment can prevent progression to cancer but you must have a pap smear to know if you need treatment.
How often do I need a pap smear?
Beginning at 21 years old you should have a pap smear every 3 years if pap smear results are normal.
You may need more frequent screenings if you have abnormal results.
What about HPV testing?
HPV (human papilloma virus) causes most cervical cancer. Women 30 or older with no history of abnormal paps can be screened for HPV with their pap. It is not a separate procedure, and if both tests are normal, pap smear and HPV testing would not be needed again for another 5 years.