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 I have 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 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. Stop. Frequency.

Can when to start, stop and the frequency of 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, stop and the frequency of Pap tests can vary. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you in your country.

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.

In Pap and HPV Testing: When Should A Woman Begin Cervical Cancer Screening, and How Often Should She Be Screened? the (United States) National Cancer Institute (NCI) elaborate on:

“Women should talk with their doctor about when to start screening and how often to be screened”.1

In Women’s Wellness: Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines dated 13 August 2020, the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“The updated guidelines recommend that women begin regular cervical cancer screenings with an HPV test only starting at 25, which is a few years later than previously recommended”.2

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)”.3

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 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”.4

HPV Vaccine

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

In HPV and Pap Testing: Do Women Who Have Been Vaccinated Against HPV Still Need To Be Screened for Cervical Cancer? the NCI note:

“Yes. Current HPV vaccines do not protect against all HPV types that cause cervical cancer, so it is important for vaccinated women to continue to undergo routine cervical cancer screening”.5

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):

Pap Tests and I

“Some people believe that they can stop cervical cancer screening once they have stopped having children. This is not true”.6

Menopause

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

In Frequently Asked Questions – Cervical Screening: HPV Specific FAQs – Does the Cervical Screening Program Apply To Me If I’ve Been Through Menopause? according to the NCSP:

“Yes, it is important you still get regular Cervical Screening Tests even if you have been through menopause”.7

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”.8

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”.9

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”.10

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 (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health 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 (1.5 cases per 1000 women born between 1938-1974, exposed when their mothers were pregnant and given DES)”.11

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”.12

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”.13

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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. HPV and Pap Testing: When Should A Woman Begin Cervical Cancer Screening, and How Often Should She Be Screened? Reviewed: 20 December 2019. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/pap-hpv-testing-fact-sheet#q4 Accessed: 11 December 2020
  2. Women’s Wellness: Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines. 13 August 2020. Mayo Clinic https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/womens-wellness-cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines-updated/ Accessed: 11 December 2020
  3. 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.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/about-HPV-and-cervical-cancer#7 Accessed: 11 December 2020
  4. About Cervical Screening: Cervical Screening FAQs – Should LGBT+ People With A Cervix Go for Cervical Screening Jo’s Trust https://www.jostrust.org.uk/information/cervical-screening/what-is-cervical-screening Accessed: 11 December 2020
  5. HPV and Pap Testing: Do Women Who Have Been Vaccinated Against HPV Still Need To Be Screened for Cervical Cancer? Reviewed: 20 December 2019. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/pap-hpv-testing-fact-sheet#q10 Accessed: 11 December 2020
  6. The American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Prevention and Early Detection of Cervical Cancer. Last Revised: 17 November 2020. American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html Accessed: 11 December 2020
  7. Frequently Asked Questions – Cervical Screening: Does the Cervical Screening Program Apply To Me If I’ve Been Through Menopause? Page Last Updated: 30 August 2018. National Cervical Screening Program https://www.cancerscreening.gov.au/internet/screening/publishing.nsf/Content/frequently-asked-questions-3 Accessed: 11 December 2020
  8. 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: 11 December 2020
  9. Hysterectomy: I’ve Had A Hysterectomy. Do I Still Need To Have Pap Tests? Medical Review In 2014. Page Last Updated: 01 April 2019.  Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hysterectomy?from=AtoZ Accessed: 11 December 2020
  10. 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: 11 December 2020
  11. 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: 11 December 2020
  12. Cervical Cancer: What Increases Your Risk of Cervical Cancer? Last Updated: 07 October 2020. Last Reviewed: 23 January  2020. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/cervical-cancer-screening-guidelines.html Accessed: 11 December 2020
  13. 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: 11 December 2020

Topic Last Updated: 14 January 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 11 December 2020
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