When caught early, cervical cancer is highly treatable. That's why it's so important to schedule regular screening exams.

A Pap smear collects cervical cells to determine if they are precancerous or cancerous. Since HPV is a common risk factor in cervical cancer, your doctor may also remove cells for an HPV test. A positive result means you have a high-risk strain of HPV and the doctor will want to do follow up exams to make sure the infection goes away and that abnormal cells don't develop.

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You can also schedule a cervical cancer screening exam by calling one of our Riverside Women's Health practices directly. Click here for locations.

Recommended screenings

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends this screening schedule:

Age 21-29 — Pap every three years

Age 30 to 65 — One of three options:

  • Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every five years
  • HPV test alone every five years
  • Pap alone every three years

Age 65 — No screening needed if women have no history of cervical changes

What to expect

A doctor uses a device called a speculum to widen the opening of the vagina so that the cervix can be examined. A plastic spatula and small brush are used to collect cells from the cervix. After the cells are taken, they are placed into a solution and sent to a lab for testing.

Results are usually mailed to you within a week or two. The doctor's office may call you. If you are a Riverside MyChart user, your results will be part of your electronic health record that you can view in MyChart.

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