Are Pap tests still needed after removal of the uterus (hysterectomy)?
Answer From Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
A Pap test, also called a Pap smear, is a routine screening test for early diagnosis of cervical cancer.
If you had a partial hysterectomy — when the uterus is removed but the lower end of the uterus (cervix) remains — your health care provider will likely recommend continued Pap tests.
Similarly, if you had a partial hysterectomy or a total hysterectomy — when both the uterus and cervix are removed — for a cancerous or precancerous condition, regular Pap tests are still recommended as an early detection tool to monitor for a new cancer or precancerous change.
You can stop having Pap tests, however, if you had a total hysterectomy for a noncancerous condition.
Your age matters, too.
If you're unsure whether you still need Pap tests, discuss with your doctor what's best for you.
Oct. 13, 2015
- Feldman S, et al. Screening for cervical cancer. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.
- Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2015: A review of the current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2015;65:30.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 131: Screening for Cervical Cancer. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012;120:1222.
- Screening for cervical cancer: Current recommendation. Rockville, Md. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/cervical-cancer-screening?ds=1&s=cervical cancer screening. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.
- Wright JD. Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: Management of low-grade and high-grade lesions. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2015.