Cervical Cancer Screening

Cervical cancer can be detected by a Papanicolaou test, also called the Pap test or Pap smear. The Pap test can be done at any health center or medical clinic. A Pap test involves inserting a swab into the woman’s vagina to gently scrape cells from her cervix. The cells are then analyzed to identify any abnormalities. Young women should start to get Pap tests every year starting at age 21, or 3 years after becoming sexually active, whichever comes first.  After three consecutive normal Pap tests, the frequency can be reduced to every two years. Discuss with your health care provider your eligibility for cervical cancer screening. 

If you or a family member has already had cancer, or you are experiencing any unusual signs or symptoms, discuss your options for cancer screening with your health care provider. You could be eligible for different screening tests, or screening at an earlier age.