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When should I be screened for cervical cancer?

Our recommendation

If you’ve ever been sexually active, you should start having regular Pap tests by the time you’re 21. You’ll need a Pap test every 1 to 3 years, depending on your previous test results.

Even if you have stopped having sex, you should continue to have a Pap test. If you’ve had a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about whether you may still need a Pap test.

Women at high risk for cervical cancer may need to be tested more often and at an earlier age than women with average risk.