Some information provided by Centers Of Disease Control and Prevention
Cervical cancer screening is an important part of all women’s health care. you should start having a cervical cancer screening at age 21 years. How often you should have cervical cancer screening and which tests you should depend on your age and health history:
- Women aged 21-29 years should have a Pap test every 3 years.
- Women aged 30-65 years should have a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every 5 years (preferred). It is acceptable to have a Pap test alone every 3 years.
- Women should stop having cervical cancer screening after age 65 if they do not have a history of moderate or severe dysplasia or cancer and they have had either 3 negative co-test results in a row within the past 10 years, with the most recent test performed within the past 5 years.
- Women who have a history of cervical cancer, are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), have a weakened immune system, or who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth should not follow these routine guidelines.
The Pap test, which screens for cervical cancer, is one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. However, If you are 21 to 65 years old, it is important for you to continue getting a Pap test as directed by your doctor—even if you think you are too old to have a child or are not having sex anymore. If you are older than 65 and have had normal Pap test results for several years, or if you have had your cervix removed as part of a total hysterectomy for non-cancerous conditions, like fibroids, your doctor may tell you that you do not need to have a Pap test anymore.
It can take as long as three weeks to receive your test results. If your test shows that something might not be normal, your doctor will contact you and figure out how best to follow up. There are many reasons why test results might not be normal. It usually does not mean you have cancer.
If your doctor says that you have cervical cancer, ask to be referred to a gynecologic oncologist—a doctor who has been trained to treat cancers of a woman’s reproductive system. This doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.
Types of Treatment
Cervical cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of cervical cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
- Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
- Chemotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
- Radiation: Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer.
Different treatments may be provided by different doctors on your medical team.
If your test results show cells that are not normal and may become cancer, your doctor will let you know if you need to be treated. In most cases, treatment prevents cervical cancer from developing. It is important to follow up with your doctor right away to learn more about your test results and receive any treatment that may be needed. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.