Screening means looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage, when it is easier to treat. To screen for cervical cancer, a doctor performs a Pap test, sometimes called a Pap smear. This test looks for changes in the cells of the cervix. The Pap test can find cancer cells or cells that could turn into cancer. Because cervical cancer takes a long time to develop, regular Pap tests may find changes in cells before they become cancer. All women between the ages of 21 and 64 should get a Pap test at least once every 3 years. Women younger than 30 have a higher risk of cervical cancer and may need to get a Pap test every year. Women who have had an abnormal Pap test also may need to a get Pap test every year
This measure shows the percent of women 21 to 64 years old in each practice who received a Pap test. A higher number is better.
Why it is important
Checking women 21 to 64 years old for cervical cancer saves lives. When found early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high.
What you and your doctor should do
Plan for a Pap smear when appropriate. Your doctor should tell you how often you need a Pap test based on your risk factors for cervical cancer. Generally women should have a Pap test every 1 to 3 years.