Cervical Cancer Screening
What are we tracking and why?
Early detection of cervical cancer can greatly increase your treatment options, reduce health care costs, and improve the effectiveness of your treatment. We track the percentage of our female patients screened for cervical cancer, using the following recommended guidelines:
- Women 21–64 years of age who had a pap test every 3 years.
- Women 30–64 years of age who had a combined pap/human papilloma virus (HPV) test every 5 years.
How are we doing?
What are we doing to improve?
We take proactive steps to make sure our patients are offered every opportunity to meet the recommended guidelines for cervical cancer screenings. We:
- Allow self-referrals for pap tests in the Gynecology Clinic.
- Offer our patients a pap test when they are seen for a routine appointment (as time permits).
- Systematically check our patients’ health records to determine the date of their last pap or combined pap/HPV test, and contact them by phone, email (via Secure Messaging), or mail, if they are due for a screening.
- Provide continuing education for our providers on best practices for cervical cancer screenings.
- Increase patient awareness during health fairs.
What can you do?
If you are a woman between the ages of 21-64, you should schedule a pap test and/or a combined pap and HPV (human papilloma virus) test according to the recommended guidelines above. Ask your healthcare provider for the date of your last pap test, or combined pap/HPV test, and plan ahead to schedule your next one.
If you are a woman who has abnormal test results, have tested positive for HPV, have a compromised immune system, a history of cervical cancer, a history of DES (diethylstilbestrol) exposure, or are HIV positive, you may require more frequent screening, or additional testing. If you are a woman over 65 years old, you may need to continue to screen for cervical cancer if you have a history of cervical cancer or severe dysplasia (precancerous cells). Talk to your healthcare provider about the screening frequency and duration that is right for you.
If you are going to have a pap test within the next few days, you should not douche, use a tampon, have intercourse, or use vaginal creams, jellies, or spermicides. These things can reduce the reliability of your test result.
Please note: Although an annual pap test is no longer required, we recommend you schedule a well-woman exam every year. At a well-woman exam, your provider is able to evaluate your overall gynecologic health and identify the need for other screening tests.