Regular testing for cervical cancer is one of the best ways to catch early signs of disease or infections when more treatment options are available. That's why it's important for healthy women to get a routine screening starting at age 21.
Your doctor may recommend two types of tests to check the health of your cervix. A Pap test can detect changes in the cells of the cervix that can lead to cancer if left untreated. The HPV test looks for signs of the human papillomavirus that also can cause cell changes that can grow into cancer over time.
HPV infection causes nearly all cervical cancers. That's why it's important to follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for regular testing. Your provider knows your medical history and can help you understand the type of test and frequency that's right for you.
Here are general guidelines that providers at Goshen Center for Cancer Care follow for cervical cancer screenings.
- First Pap test at age 21 with tests every three years until age 29
- Pap test every three years between ages 30 and 65
- HPV test every five years between ages 25 and 65
- Cotesting with a Pap test and HPV test every five years
Your provider may recommend a different schedule if you are at high risk or have had an abnormal Pap test. Talk with your provider if you are over 65 to understand if continuing routine Pap tests is right for you.
Even if you have had the HPV vaccine, you should follow guidelines for regular screenings. It's the best way to prevent cervical cancer.
Early detection saves lives
The earlier we discover a health issue, like cancer, the earlier we can treat it and the better your chances of survival. Need a healthcare provider? Find a doctor using our easy online search tool.