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Why get a Pap test?

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A Pap test is one way to screen for cervical cancer. It can find this cancer early, when it's easiest to treat.

During a Pap test, the doctor takes a sample of cells from your cervix. That sample goes to a lab. It's tested to see if any of the cells have started to turn into cancer. Your doctor can also test the cells for HPV.

Women should begin getting Pap tests at age 21 and continue every three years up to age 65. They may choose to get both a Pap and HPV test beginning at age 30 and then continue with co-testing every 5 years up to age 65.

Ask your doctor or gynecologist about your HPV and cervical cancer risks. Find out if you need to get vaccinated. And learn what other steps you can take to avoid cervical cancer.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Genital Warts: Signs and Symptoms."

American Cancer Society: "HPV and Cancer," "Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer."

CDC: "Genital HPV Infection -- Fact Sheet," "Questions and Answers About HPV."

Cleveland Clinic: "HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment."

National Cancer Institute: "HPV and Cancer."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Cervical Cancer: Screening."

Vaccines.gov: "HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine."

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on March 27, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Genital Warts: Signs and Symptoms."

American Cancer Society: "HPV and Cancer," "Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Cancer."

CDC: "Genital HPV Infection -- Fact Sheet," "Questions and Answers About HPV."

Cleveland Clinic: "HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment."

National Cancer Institute: "HPV and Cancer."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: "Cervical Cancer: Screening."

Vaccines.gov: "HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine."

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on March 27, 2019

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