At Arizona Natural Medicine ®, we are committed to the wellness of women and their families. Part of maintaining a woman’s health is to provide services for annual Pap smears, HPV testing (associated with cervical cancer), gynecological and breast exams. The Papanocolau test, known as the Pap test or Pap smear for short checks for abnormal cell development (dysplasia) around the cervix to identify pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Regular Pap smears contribute to early detection, ensuring that abnormal cell growth is caught quickly. The Pap test has greatly reduced the number of cases of cervical cancer in the United States.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the recommendations for routine Pap tests are:
First Screening Women should have a Pap test at least once every 3 years, beginning about 3 years after they begin to have sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21. Experts recommend waiting about 3 years after the start of sexual activity to avoid overtreatment for common, temporary abnormal changes. It is safe to wait 3 years, because cervical cancer usually develops slowly. Cervical cancer is extremely rare in women under age 25.
REPRODUCTIVE AGE SCREENING
Ages 19-29: Pap smear every three years unless ordered more frequently by your physician.
Age 30: Women 30 and over should continue to be tested every 2-3 years unless ordered more frequently by a physician. At 30, women have the option to be tested for HPV, a common virus that causes cervical cancer, to be done with a routine Pap smear.
POST REPRODUCTIVE AGE SCREENING
Ages 65 to 70: Women who have had at least three normal Pap tests and no abnormal Pap tests in the last 10 years may decide, after talking with their clinician, to stop having Pap smears performed. If a woman has not had a Pap in several years, a screening must be done. If she is at high risk for cervical cancer, frequent screenings may be necessary.
POST- HYSTERECTOMY SCREENING
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you have had a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about whether you still need routine Pap tests. Whether you need to continue having Pap tests depends on why your hysterectomy was needed, whether your cervix was removed, and whether you have a history of moderate or severe dysplasia.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, HPV Testing Guidelines are as follows: If you are 30 years or older, you also can be tested for the cancer-causing types of HPV at the same time you have your Pap test. Testing for these types of HPV in women 30 years and older can help predict whether dysplasia will be diagnosed in the next few years, even if Pap test results are normal. If the results of both your HPV test and Pap test are normal, the chance that you will develop mild or moderate dysplasia in the next 3–5 years is very low. You do not need to have these tests again for another 3 years.