For many years, women have become accustomed to having a yearly Pap smear, but the new Pap smear recommendations that our Austin obgyns follow do not call for annual screening. Our physicians follow the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines for cervical cancer screening.
In recent years, researchers and physicians have learned more about the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, leading to new Pap smear recommendations. This information has led to co-testing, meaning our Austin obgyns perform both an HPV screening and Pap smear in women ages 31 to 65. The interval between Pap smears changed because studies found that annual testing led to more false positive results and additional procedures, such as biopsies. In addition, cervical cancer starts as precancerous cells that grow slowly, and the new intervals still allow physicians to detect cancer in its early, most treatable stages.
Below, our Austin obgyns outline the Pap smear recommendations that apply to most women.
Even women who have had the HPV vaccine need to follow these Pap smear recommendations. Women who have had a hysterectomy where their cervix wasn’t removed also need screening.
There are exceptions to current Pap smear guidelines. For example, women exposed to DES, or diethylstilbestrol, need to have cervical cancer screening more frequently. Women who have had a hysterectomy and had their cervix removed still need to have screening tests for 20 years after the surgery if they have a history of moderate to severe cervical changes or cervical cancer. If they have no history of problems, they do not need to be screened. Our Austin obgyns advise and treat each individual patient.
Our physicians dedicate themselves to preventing and treating cervical cancer. Following current Pap smear recommendations is an important step. Contact us for an appointment.