Are you up to date on your cervical cancer screenings?

Cervical cancer screening guidelines you should be discussing with your doctor


When it comes to cervical cancer, there’s good news: the number of people dying from the disease has decreased. Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of death for Americans who were assigned female at birth.


Cervical Cancer Quick Numbers

  • Around 13,960 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2023.
  • In the U.S., about 4,310 people are expected to die from cervical cancer in 2023.
  • Cervical cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women ages 35-44.
  • Almost all cervical cancer diagnoses result from the human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • If you are a female between 21 and 65 years old, you should receive routine cervical cancer screenings.
  • Depending on your Pap smear history, screening may continue beyond age 65.

(Data from the American Cancer Society)

Routine Cervical Cancer Screenings


Screening has significantly impacted the death rate of this disease. Routine cervical cancer screening recommendations are different for every patient. There are two tests to screen for cervical cancer: the Papanicolaou (Pap) test and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test


Pap Testing - A Pap test or Pap smear, is used to find cell changes or abnormal cells in the cervix. When this test is performed, a swab is sent to a lab where it is examined for cancer cells or cells that can become cancerous in the future.


HPV Testing – Similar to a Pap test, your physician has a sample tested specifically for high-risk HPV subtypes that could lead to abnormalities on the cervix.


Your doctor will recommend one or both tests. Routine screenings are the only way to catch precancerous cells that may become cancerous, detect cervical cancer early and receive an early diagnosis of HPV before cancer develops.


Cervical Cancer Screenings by Age


The American Cancer Society recommends the following screenings at the following ages:


21-29 years old – Pap test every three years.

30-65 years old – Pap test and an HPV test every five years.

65 years and older – Screening is unnecessary if you have had negative test results. If you have a new partner after age 65, even with previous normal pap smear results, you should let your obstetrician and gynecologist (OBGYN) know, as screening could be recommended.

You do not need to be screened if you have had a hysterectomy unless you have had an abnormal Pap smear.


Talk to your OBGYN to determine if you should schedule a cervical cancer screening this year. McLaren has specialists across the state. If you need an OBGYN, click here to search for a McLaren provider accepting new patients.


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cervical cancer, or if you need a second opinion, schedule a consultation with the experts at Karmanos. It is important to be evaluated by cancer experts before beginning treatment.


Read more about cervical cancer, screening and prevention here.