The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at risk for certain diseases or conditions.
Cervical cancer deaths have decreased over 50% in the last 30-40 years thanks to early detection and treatment. This is mostly due to increased availability of Pap and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing.
If you are a healthy woman without prior cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 (CIN 2) or higher, many professional organizations recommend:
Pap tests may be recommended more often if you have abnormal results or certain conditions, such as:
Talk to your doctor about the right screening schedule for you.
Screening tests to help detect cervical cancer include:
Cervical cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 3, 2015. Accessed November 17, 2015.
Cervical cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-screening-pdq. Updated January 21, 2015. Accessed November 17, 2015.
3/19/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Screening for cervical cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/cervical-cancer-screening. Published March 2012. Accessed November 17, 2015.
Saslow D, Soloman D, Lawson H, et al. American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology screening guidelines for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(3):147-172.
3/17/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Ronco G, Dillner J, Elfstrom KM, et al. Efficacy of HPV-based screening for prevention of invasive cervical cancer: follow-up of four European randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2014;383(9916):524-532.
7/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Qaseem A, Humphrey LL, Harris R, et al. Screening pelvic examination in adult women: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(1):67-72.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD Last Updated: 11/17/2015