Dr. Carrie Lawson from Piedmont OB-GYN answers a reader’s question about Pap smears.
Q: What is a Pap smear, and how often do women need them?
A: A Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer and pre-cancer, most often caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). We recommend the test every two to three years for women in their 20s beginning at age 21, and every three to five years, along with HPV co-testing, for age 30 to 65. Women over 65, or who have had a hysterectomy, usually no longer need to have the test, although they should continue to schedule an annual gynecological exam.
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