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Cervical Cancer Screening: Average Risk

The following cervical cancer screening guidelines are for women at average risk for the disease. They also are for women who do not have any cervical cancer symptoms. If you have symptoms, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible.

Women at average risk for cervical cancer include those who have:

If you fit this description, you should follow one of the screening schedules below.

Age 20 and younger:

  • No screening recommended

Age 21 to 29, you should:

  • Get a liquid-based Pap test every two years

Age 30 to 65, you should:

  • Get a liquid-based Pap test and  Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test every three years as long as your results are negative
  • Speak with your doctor about a different testing schedule if your test results are positive

Age 65 and older:

  • If you have had three or more negative Pap tests, and no positive Pap test, in the last 10 years, speak with your doctor about whether you should continue screening. Women at increased risk for cervical cancer should continue the age 30 to 65 screening recommendations as long as they are in good health.

Age 30 and older, who have had a hysterectomy but have not had cervical cancer or severe cervical dysplasia, you should:

  • Speak with your doctor about whether you should continue screening if your hysterectomy included removal of the cervix.
  • Get a liquid-based Pap test and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test if your hysterectomy did not include removal of the cervix. Repeat these tests every three years if both test results are normal.

All women should continue annual well-woman check-ups with a health care provider even during years when a Pap test is not required. Women who have received the HPV vaccine also should follow the above screening guidelines. 

These screening guidelines apply to women who are expected to live for at least another 10 years. The guidelines are not for women who have a health condition that would make it hard for a health care provider to treat cervical cancer or pre-cancer.

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For Physicians

Use our flowchart to determine cancer screening recommendations for patients. 

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center