The importance of annual screens for preventative care cannot be understated. Specifically, pap screens for detection of cervical cancer should start as early as 21 years of age, as recommended by both the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control.
Women 21-29 should have a pap test every three years. But starting at 30, they should get a HPV test combined with the pap screen every five years. This is called co-testing and should continue until the age 65. These tests offer the best chance for early detection and timely treatment.
Pap screens can also prevent most cervical cancers by finding abnormal cervical cell changes (precancers) so they can be treated before they have a chance to turn into cervical cancer. When found early, treatments for cervical cancer have very high rates of success. This simple procedure of collecting cells can be done during a routine pelvic exam.
But despite all the benefits, many women do not get screened. We at CIMA encourage every woman to talk about this with their provider during their annual check-ups.
Depending on several risk factors, some women might need screening more often than others.
If you do not have a provider, Jessica Hill at CIMA’s Mason location is accepting new patients. Please call us to schedule your pap screen today or for more information about early detection of cervical cancer.