Screening Guidelines for Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer occurs when cancerous cells begin to grow in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. By undergoing regular cervical cancer screenings at their local hospitals , women can reduce their risk of developing this life-threatening disease. During a cervical cancer screening, or Pap test, the healthcare provider will collect a sample of cervical cells to be analyzed in the laboratory for signs of precancerous changes.
Who Should Undergo Screening?
Current guidelines recommend that all women between the ages of 21 and 65 visit their community hospitals for a Pap smear. While you are within this age range, it’s important to continue to undergo cervical cancer screening even if you are currently abstaining from sexual intercourse. Additionally, women who are 30 years or older may wish to ask their physicians about co-testing, which refers to having an HPV test at the same time as a Pap test.
How Often Should Screening Be Done?
The guidelines with regard to the frequency of screening depend on your personal medical history. If you’ve previously had normal Pap results, your physician may advise you to schedule a test every three years . Women who have had normal results from the Pap test and the HPV test may be advised to wait five years for their next screening. You can ask your doctor for advice regarding your unique medical needs.
Who Doesn’t Require Screening?
Women who have reached their 65th birthday may be advised to discontinue cervical cancer screening, provided they have had normal results for the past few years. In addition, women who have had their cervix removed during a hysterectomy may no longer require cervical cancer screening.
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center provides an array of healthcare services , including preventive health screenings and exams. Our hospital in Thousand Oaks also offers emergency room care and heart health services. Visit our website to learn more about our hospital or call our Consult-A-Nurse referral line at (805) 497-2727.