Missed cervical smear test

Patient

Q: I missed a cervical smear test and haven't had one for five years. I have booked one now but have panicked myself about it being too long and need reassurance.

Doctor

A:   I understand that you feel concerned on missing your cervical smear tests. PAP smears should be started as soon as women turn 21 years old or 3 years after being sexually active, whichever comes first. It may be less likely to find anything abnormal if repetitive tests have come back normal. For women 30 years and older screened with a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing, a positive or negative HPV test can help inform the management of an abnormal Pap smear. A negative HPV test, in combination with a normal Pap smear, confers an extremely low risk of developing cervical cancer.

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