Pap Tests Not for All Women
The American Cancer Society has issuednew guidelines that suggest certain groups ofwomen do not have to get a Pap test for cervicalcancer as part of their annual checkups. Allwomen should begin cervical cancer screenings~3 years after they become sexuallyactive, but no later than 21 years of age.Screening should be done every year after thatuntil age 30. After 30, women who have had 3normal Pap test results in a row can safelyhave the test done every 2 to 3 years. Womenaged 70 and older who have had 3 or morenormal Pap test results, and had no abnormalresults in the past 10 years, can choose to stopthe testing altogether. Women who have hadtotal hysterectomies, which include removal ofthe uterus and cervix, can also forgo the annualtest, unless the surgery was performed forcervical cancer or precancer. Women whohave weakened immune systems, or a historyof cervical cancer, or were exposed to diethylstilbestrolbefore birth, even if they belong tothe other categories, should still get the annualPap test.