Q&A: A lot of patients ask, do I need a PAP smear every year?

Dr. Peter Wong OB/GYN Jamaica Hospital

A PAP smear is looking at the cells of the cervix for any abnormalities. This can help identify cervical cancer. A lot of patients ask, do I need a PAP smear every year?
For a majority of women, the short answer is no. The true answer is dependent on a number of factors: past PAP smear results, your age, and the type of testing that has been done.

In 2012, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends women start getting PAP smears starts at age 21. For women age 21 to 65 years, the USPSTF recommends a PAP smear every 3 years. For women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screening with a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years.

If a woman has any abnormal findings in their PAP smear or HPV testing, then the screening interval changes.
You should continue to visit your gynecologist for yearly annual exams to ensure overall health. Your clinician will check for any signs of infection, prolapse, and abnormal growths (fibroids, cysts, polyps).

Each individual’s case is unique, speak to your doctor about your current health and their recommendations for a PAP smear.

For women experiencing gynecological issues, Jamaica Hospital provides many highly specialized services and treatments for a wide range of conditions that affect women’s health. Our specially trained staff offers expert diagnosis and treatment options for multiple forms of gynecological cancers as well as services to treat complications that may develop from fibroid tumors, bladder conditions, or menopause.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact us at 718-206-6808.


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