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Pap Smear after Hysterectomy

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woman at doctor's office for pap smearDo I need a Pap smear after my hysterectomy if I didn't have cancer?

If you had a partial hysterectomy and still have your cervix, you will need to continue with regular smears. If, however, you had a complete hysterectomy, it may depend on your situation and the philosophy of your physician.

In March 2012, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reported that the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) updated cervical screening guidelines and stated that they are not necessary for women who have undergone a complete hysterectomy for benign reasons (a). However, there does not seem to be a uniform opinion among physicians about whether or not women without cancer need to continue with Pap smears following a complete hysterectomy. Changes in the surface of the cervix that produce abnormal Pap smears can also occur on the vaginal cuff or vaginal walls. Thus, some doctors and patients feel that periodic Pap smears can be wise to catch or monitor any of those changes. As a result, physicians may make an assessment on a patient-by-patient basis, or establish a policy for their practice based on their own interpretation of current medical data.

If you have never had an abnormal Pap smear, talk to your doctor about whether continued Pap smears are right for you following your hysterectomy. If you are at risk for any abnormal conditions related to the vagina or cervix (DES exposure, HIV exposure, etc.), share those with your physician. If you become sexually involved with a new partner, talk to your doctor about whether Pap smears are right for you to monitor any STD related possibilities.

(a) New Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society/American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology/American Society for Clinical Pathology

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

Published: 12 April 2003
Last updated: 31 May 2014

04-12-2003 - 11:35 AM


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