While widespread Pap smear screening has helped reduce the incidence of cervical cancer by more than 50 percent over the past 30 years, half of the women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer today have never had one. The Pap smear test allows early diagnosis and treatment so that the abnormal cells do not become cancerous. Routine Pap tests help increase the chance that abnormal cells are identified. If a Pap misses abnormal cells they may be found on the next scheduled Pap test. Berkshire gynecologists and Berkshire Health Systems join the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in underscoring the importance of adhering to recommendations for Pap smear frequency.
Pap Smear Frequency Recommendations:
First Pap smear at age 21
Women aged 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every 3 yrs
Women aged 30 to 64 should have a Pap test every 3 yrs or, if combined with HPV testing, every 5 yrs
*** Regardless of the frequency of the Pap test, physicians still recommend an ANNUAL gynecologic examination even if a Pap test is not performed at every visit.***