Thursday, June 30, 2022

HEALTHIER YOU: Answering a common question about Pap tests

December 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Health

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYES

Are Pap tests still needed after removal of the uterus (hysterectomy)?”

I am often asked this question by women who have had hysterectomies if they should have their annual Pap smear test even if they no longer have a uterus. I often tell them: “It depends.” A Pap test is also referred to as a Pap smear, which is a routine screening test for early diagnosis of cervical cancer.

If you had a hysterectomy that removed the uterus but retained the cervix, your doctor will likely recommend continued Pap tests.

Similarly, if you had a hysterectomy for a cancerous or precancerous condition, regular Pap tests may still be recommended as an early detection tool to monitor for a new cancer or precancerous change. In addition, if your mother took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) while she was pregnant with you, regular Pap tests are recommended, since DES exposure increases the risk of developing cervical cancer. However, despite not needing a Pap, you should continue routine visits with your gynecologist to obtain a breast exam and possibly a pelvic exam to ensure all is well.

You can stop having Pap tests, however, if you had a total hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition.

Your age matters, too. Doctors generally agree that women can stop routine Pap test screening after age 65 — whether you’ve had a hysterectomy or not — if you have a history of regular screenings with normal results and if you’re not at high risk of cervical cancer.

If you’re unsure whether you still need Pap tests, discuss with your doctor or contact our Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices.

For more information, call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane #165 in Las Vegas.

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