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Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known as dysplasia, in which cells that are not normal begin to appear in the cervical tissue. The Pap screening test can detect these cells before they can grow and spread more deeply into the cervix and to surrounding areas.

Screening for cervical cancer using the Pap test has decreased the number of new cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths due to cervical cancer since 1950.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the major risk factor for cervical cancer in women. It also is a risk factor for a number of other cancers in men and women. Today, adolescent girls and boys can get vaccinated against the HPV virus, greatly reducing the risk of vaccinated females getting cervical cancer. The HPV test, often done at the same time as a Pap test for women over 30 and called the “co-test”, looks for the virus that causes cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer.

Screening Guideline
Ages 21-29 Ages 30-65
At 21 have your first Pap test. If results are normal you can wait 3 years for your next Pap test. If results are abnormal your health care provider will tell you how often you need to have your Pap test. If your Pap test results have been normal you can get a Pap test every 3 years of get the co-rest, both the Pap test and the HPV test, every 5 years. At 65 talk to your health care provider on when you can stop screening.
Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet, CDC Handout English | Spanish
What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer, NIH Booklet English | Spanish

Screening Wallet Cards

English | Spanish
Low-cost screenings

The Women’s Health Connection (WHC) program provides breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income women who are uninsured or underinsured. If breast or cervical cancer is diagnosed, Women's Health Connection patients may receive treatment through Medicaid. Click or call Access to Healthcare to learn more at 844-469-4934.

How much do you know about cervical cancer? Take the quiz to find out!


Are you a healthcare provider? Visit our cervical cancer section to find resources to help you and your patients.