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Screening for Cervical Cancer
- Do not schedule the Pap test during your menstrual period. If possible, schedule it two weeks after the first day of your period.
- Do not use vaginal creams, medications, or douches for 72 hours before the test.
- Do not use contraceptives, such as spermicidal foams, creams, or jellies, for 72 hours before the test.
- Do not have intercourse for 24 hours before the test.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
When To Get Screened
- If you are aged 21-29 years—It is recommended that you have the Pap test every three years.
- If you are aged 30-65—It is recommended that you have the Pap test along with the HPV test every five years. (Or, you can continue to have just the Pap test every three years.)
- If you are aged 65 or older—You may be able to stop having Pap and HPV tests if you have had normal results (for example, three normal results in a row and no abnormal results in the past 10 years)
- If you have had a hysterectomy with removal of your cervix no screening is needed.
- Suppressed immune system
- Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero (in the womb)—an estrogen-like substance that was given to prevent miscarriages in high-risk pregnancies
- History of cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer
First cervical cancer screening delayed until age 21 less frequent Pap tests recommended. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org. Published November 20, 2009. Accessed November 23, 2009.
HPV DNA testing and cervical cancer prevention. College of American Pathologists website. Available at: http://www.cap.org/apps. Accessed March 20, 2012.
3/19/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Screening for cervical cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspscerv.htm. Published March 2012. Accessed March 19, 2012. Saslow D, Soloman D, Lawson H, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012 Mar 14 early online.
3/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Ronco G, Dillner J, et al. Efficacy of HPV-based screening for prevention of invasive cervical cancer: follow-up of four European randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2014 Feb 8;383(9916):524-532.
7/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Qaseem A, Humphrey LL, et al. Screening pelvic examination in adult women: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2014 Jul 1;161(1):67-72.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 07/07/2014