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Cervical Cancer Screening - Topic Overview

Women who have had a hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus, usually including the cervix. Sometimes the cervix is not removed. You and your doctor can decide on the right screening based on your medical history.

  • Women without a cervix
    • You don't need Pap tests if your cervix was removed for reasons other than cancer.
    • You may have regular Pap tests if your cervix was removed for precancerous changes. But you may not need them as often if you have no other risk factors.2
    • You should have regular Pap tests if your cervix was removed for cervical cancer.
  • Women with a cervix
    • You should have regular Pap tests until age 65.

If you don't know if you still have your cervix, talk with your doctor.

What do your results mean?

Abnormal changes on your cervix may be minor or serious. Minor changes may go away on their own, especially if you are younger than 30.

If you have serious changes—which means the cells are the type that could turn into cancer—you may need more regular checkups and Pap tests. You may need treatment to remove the abnormal cells.

If you have a Pap test and an HPV test, your doctor will look at the results of both and decide what kind of follow-up tests you might need.

Experts agree that some women may need to be tested more often if they:

Women 21 to 29

  • If you had a Pap test and it was normal, you can wait 3 years to have another test.
  • If you had an abnormal Pap test result, your doctor will let you know if you need follow-up tests.

Women 30 to 64

Pap test and HPV test are both normal

  • The cells on your cervix look normal.
  • You don't have HPV.
  • You can wait 5 years to have another combined Pap and HPV test.
  • Your doctor will still want you to have physical exams. Ask how often you should come in.
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