Pap Tests and I

Even though I am young,
or I am a virgin,
or I have had the HPV vaccine,
I may still need regular Pap tests.

Even though I have only had sex once,
or I am not having sex now,
or I have not had sex for years,
I may still need regular Pap tests.

Even though I have only had one sex partner,
or only same sex partners,
I may still need regular Pap tests.

Even though I have had a partial hysterectomy,
or a total hysterectomy,
or a cancer-related hysterectomy,
I may still need regular Pap tests.

Even though I have stopped having children
or been through menopause,
I may still need regular Pap tests until
I am 65 years of age, younger or older.

It may therefore be in my best interest to
choose to check what’s-what for me.

Meno Martha

Umbrella
What may the Pap Tests and I Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this umbrella may include:

  • Cervical Screening Test
  • Pap Smear
  • Pap Smear Test
  • Pap Test
  • Smear Test

Start. Frequency. Stop.

Can when to start, the frequency and when to stop Pap tests, vary?

Yes. Depending on You (DoY), DotS and/or Depending on Your Country’s (DoYC’s) cervical cancer screening program, when to start, the frequency and when to stop Pap tests, can vary. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you.

Young

If I am young, do I still need regular Pap tests?

DoY, DotS and/or DoYC’s  cervical cancer screening program, when you start having regular Pap tests can vary. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you in your country.

For the United States, the National Cancer Institute note in Cervical Cancer Screening: When To Get Screened for Cervical Cancer – Age 21-29 Years:

“If you are in this age group, USPSTF recommends getting your first Pap test at age 21, followed by Pap testing every 3 years. Even if you are sexually active, you do not need a Pap test before age 21”.1

What is USPSTF?

USPSTF Can be an abbreviation for the United States Preventative Services Task Force.

Different Differences

Do I still need regular Pap Tests if I have different differences?

In Who Should Get A Cervical Screening Test? Should You Have A Cervical Screening Test? the (Australian) National Cervical Screening Program explain:

“It makes no difference if you:

  • Are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight
  • Have had the HPV vaccination or not
  • Are no longer sexually active
  • Have been through menopause
  • Have been with only one sexual partner
  • Have experienced traditional cutting or circumcision
  • Have had a baby
  • Are pregnant (ensure to let your health care professional know)”.2

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender+

If I am gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In About Cervical Screening: Cervical Screening FAQs – Should LGBT+ People With A Cervix Go for Cervical Screening the (United Kingdom) Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust elaborate on:

“All women and people with a cervix between age 25 and 64 can go for regular cervical screening, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Most cervical cell changes and cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with HPV. As HPV can be passed on through any skin-to-skin contact in the genital area, anyone having any kind of sex is at risk of getting it”.3

HPV Vaccine

If I have had the HPV vaccine, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In Cervical Cancer: : Prevention – Do You Still Need To Have Cervical Screening Tests If You Have Had the Vaccine? the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health note:

“Even if you have had the HPV vaccine (either before or after becoming sexually active), you need to continue to have regular cervical screening tests every five years because the HPV vaccine only protects you from 70-90% of cervical cancers”.4

Stopped Having Children

If I have stopped having children, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer according to the American Cancer Society (ACS):

“Some people believe that they can stop cervical cancer screening once they have stopped having children. This is not true”.5

Menopause

If I have been through menopause, do I still need regular Pap tests?

It could be in your best interest to choose to check your Country’s recommendation for the age you may stop regular pap tests.

Partial Hysterectomy

If I have had a partial hysterectomy, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In Pap Smear: Still Needed After Hysterectomy? the author explains:

“If you had a partial hysterectomy — when the uterus is removed but the lower end of the uterus (cervix) remains — your doctor will likely recommend continued Pap tests”.6

In Who Should Get A Cervical Screening Test? Should You Have A Cervical Screening Test? the National Cervical Screening Program explain:

“If you have had a full or partial hysterectomy, please check with your doctor about screening”.7

Total Hysterectomy

If I have had a total hysterectomy, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In Hysterectomy: I’ve Had A Hysterectomy. Do I Still Need To Have Pap Tests? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov explain:

“Maybe. You will still need regular Pap tests (or Pap smear) to screen for cervical cancer if you:

  • Did not have your cervix removed
  • Had a hysterectomy because of cancer or precancer

Ask your doctor what is best for you and how often you should have Pap tests”.8

Cancer-Related Hysterectomy

If I have had a cancer-related hysterectomy, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In Pap Smear Still Needed After Hysterectomy? the author elaborates on:

“…if you had a partial hysterectomy or a total hysterectomy — when both the uterus and cervix are removed — for a cancerous or precancerous condition, regular Pap tests may still be recommended as an early detection tool to monitor for a new cancer or precancerous change”.9

Diethylstilbestrol

If my mother took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant with me, do I still need regular Pap tests?

In Cervical Cancer: What Increases Your Risk of Cervical Cancer? the JH note:

  • “Exposure in utero to Dethylstilbestrol (DES), a drug given to women from the 1940s-1970s to prevent miscarriage, which increased the risk of the rare clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix (1 case per 1000 women born between 1938-1974, exposed when their mothers were pregnant and given DES)”.10

Other Conditions

What if I need more regular Pap tests?

In The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer: Considerations for Other Patient Populations according to the ACS:

“Those who are at high risk of cervical cancer because of a suppressed immune system (for example from HIV infection, organ transplant, or long-term steroid use) or because they were exposed to DES in utero may need to be screened more often. They should follow the recommendations of their health care team”.11

HPV Test

What is a HPV test?

In The HPV Test the ACS elaborate on:

“The most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer is infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). Doctors can test for the high-risk HPV types that are most likely to cause cervical cancer by looking for pieces of their DNA in cervical cells. The test can be done by itself (primary HPV test) or at the same time as a Pap test (called a co-test). You won’t notice a difference in your exam if you have both tests done”.12

Symptoms

What if I think I have symptoms?

In Cervical Screening: When Do I Start Screening? the (Australian) Cancer Council note:

“Cancer Council recommends that women of any age who have symptoms (including pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge) should see their doctor immediately”.13

Health Care Provider

What if I am unsure whether I still need Pap tests?

In Pap Smear: Still Needed After Hysterectomy? the author explains:

“If you’re unsure whether you still need Pap tests, discuss with your doctor what’s best for you”.14

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted:

Sources

  1. Cervical Cancer Screening: When To Get Screened for Cervical Cancer – Age 21-29 Years. Reviewed: 13 October 2022. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/pap-hpv-testing-fact-sheet#q4 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  2. Who Should Get A Cervical Screening Test? Should You Have A Cervical Screening Test? Page Last Updated: 25 November 2020. National Cervical Screening Program https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-cervical-screening-program/getting-a-cervical-screening-test/who-should-get-a-cervical-screening-test Accessed: 17 November 2022
  3. About Cervical Screening: Cervical Screening FAQs – Should LGBT+ People With A Cervix Go for Cervical Screening. Date Last Updated: 31 May 2022. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/cervical-screening/what-is-cervical-screening Accessed: 17 November 2022
  4. Cervical Cancer: Prevention – Do You Still Need To Have Cervical Screening Tests If You Have Had the Vaccine? Last updated: 10 February 2022 | Last reviewed: 16 July 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/cervical-cancer Accessed: 17 November 2022
  5. The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer. Last Revised: 22 April 2021. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html Accessed: 17 November 2022
  6. Burnett, T. Pap Smear: Still Needed After Hysterectomy? 22 October 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/expert-answers/pap-smear/faq-20058344 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  7. Who Should Get A Cervical Screening Test? Should You Have A Cervical Screening Test? Page Last Updated: 25 November 2020. National Cervical Screening Program https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-cervical-screening-program/getting-a-cervical-screening-test/who-should-get-a-cervical-screening-test Accessed: 17 November 2022
  8. Hysterectomy: I’ve Had A Hysterectomy. Do I Still Need To Have Pap Tests? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021.  Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hysterectomy?from=AtoZ Accessed: 17 November 2022
  9. Burnett, T. Pap Smear: Still Needed After Hysterectomy? 22 October 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/expert-answers/pap-smear/faq-20058344 Accessed: 17 November 2022
  10. Cervical Cancer: What Increases Your Risk of Cervical Cancer? Last updated: 10 February 2022 | Last reviewed: 16 July 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/cervical-cancer Accessed: 17 November 2022
  11. The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer: Considerations for Other Patient Populations. Last Revised: 22 April 2021. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html Accessed: 17 November 2022
  12. The HPV Test. Last Revised: 30 July 2020. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/screening-tests/hpv-test.html Accessed: 17 November 2022
  13. Cervical Screening: When Do I Start Screening? Cancer Council https://www.cancer.org.au/cervicalscreening/i-am-over-25/what-do-i-need-to-know-about-the-test/when-do-i-start-screening Accessed: 17 November 2022
  14. Burnett, T. Pap Smear: Still Needed After Hysterectomy? 22 October 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/expert-answers/pap-smear/faq-20058344 Accessed: 17 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 17 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 17 November 2022

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