Thank you for consulting us. The Papanicolaou test, also known as the Pap test or the Pap smear, involves collection of exfoliating cells from the transformation zone of the cervix to enable examination of these cells microscopically for detection of cancerous or precancerous lesions. Approximately 99-100% of cervical cancers are attributable to infection by high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is recommended cervical cancer screening begin at age 21, regardless of sexual history. Age group 21-29 years, screen every 3 years (for cytology alone). Age group 30-65, Screen with a combination of cytology and HPV testing every 5 years (preferred) or cytology alone every 3 years. Screening by HPV testing alone is generally not recommended. Age 65, if the woman has adequate negative prior screening and is not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer, testing can be stopped. Screening is not indicated after hysterectomy. Same guidelines are applicable to HPV-vaccinated women.
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