When Should you Start Screening for Cervical Cancer?
By Nabta Team
Did you know that cervical cancer screening is supposed to start as early as at 21 years of age?
The CDC recommends getting a Pap smear from 21 years of age for women who are married. Women 21-29 years of age should get cervical cancer screening every 3 years. Once women hit 30 years of age, they have the option of getting the HPV test instead of/alongside the Pap smear. If they’re getting just the Pap smear, it has to be repeated every 3 years if normal. If a woman is getting the HPV test and/or the Pap smear they can wait 5 years if the test(s) are normal.
A Pap smear can be done at your local doctor’s clinic and involves taking a swab from your cervix. The swab is then analysed in a lab to look for precancerous cells. This same swab can also be tested for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections.
HPV infections are responsible for more than 99% of cervical cancer cases. Being aware of your HPV status is critical in order to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer later in life.