Cervical Cancer Screening
Who should be screened?
The American Cancer Society suggests the following guidelines for early detection of cervical cancer:
Test or Procedure
Women, age 18+
Pap test and pelvic examination
All women who are, or have been, sexually active, or have reached age 18 should have an annual Pap test and pelvic examination. After a woman has had 3 or more consecutive satisfactory normal annual examinations, the Pap test may be performed less frequently at the discretion of the physician.
What is cervical cancer?
Cancer of the cervix, a common kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the opening of the uterus (womb). The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby develops. The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina (birth canal).
Cancer of the cervix usually grows slowly over a period of time. Before cancer cells are found on the cervix, the tissues of the cervix, the tissues of the cervix go through changes in which cells that are not normal begin to appear (known as dysplasis). A Pap smear will usually find these cells. Later, cancer cells start to grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.
For more information on cervical cancer, click here.