We provide well-women care in all phases of life. This includes menopause consultations, annual gynecological exams, pap smears, incontinence evaluation, sexually transmitted infection education and screening. Annual well women exams are important to address concerns which include but are not limited to: health, cancer, and sexually transmitted infections screenings, birth control and concerns about sex, issues with menstrual periods, and preconception counseling.
A sample of cervical cells are taken and sent to the lab to be tested to see if abnormal cells are present (Pap test), or if there is infection with HPV types linked to cancer (HPV test). Co-testing is the preferred strategy of the American Cancer Society for cervical cancer screening where both the Pap and HPV test is performed.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends women aged 21-29 years old to get their Pap test every 3 years. Co-testing, which is the Pap test plus HPV test, is recommended every 3-5 years for women aged 30 years and older. You should stop having cervical cancer screening after age 65 if you do not have a history of moderate or severe dysplasia or cancer and you have had either three negative Pap test results in a row or two negative co-test results in a row, with the most recent test performed within the past 5 years.
Women younger than 21 years, women older than the age of 65 who have been screened regularly, and women who have had a hysterectomy (with removal of the cervix) for reasons not related to cervical cancer or pre-cancer, should no longer be screened. Women 65 years and older do not need screening if there is no history of cervical changes and either three negative Pap test results in a row or two negative co-test results in a row within the past 10 years, with the most recent test performed within the past 5 years.
Women can and should still see their doctors more often than every 3 or 5 years – just not for a Pap test. Doctor visits should be scheduled for general wellness, with Pap tests and HPV tests given according to guideline.
American Cancer Society
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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