Pap Smear after Hysterectomy
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Do I need a Pap smear after my hysterectomy?
In November 2002, the American Cancer Society stated: Women who have had a total hysterectomy do not need Pap smears unless the hysterectomy was performed for cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. Women who have had a subtotal hysterectomy (leaving the cervix intact) need to follow the same guidelines as for other women and continue Pap smear screenings for cervical cancer until they are 70 years old.” The American Medical Association recently expressed the same view.
Among individual doctors, there does not seem to be a uniform opinion on this topic. It may be that physicians 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.
Why would anyone without a cervix ever need a test for cervical cancer? The answer is that changes in the surface of the cervix that produce abnormal Pap smears can also occur on the vaginal cuff. A woman can develop vaginal dysplasia particularly if she has previously had cervical dysplasia. Therefore, a woman whose hysterectomy was for cervical cancer should continue to have annual Pap smears.
In summary, if you have never had an abnormal Pap smear, it is reasonable to have a Pap smear every five years, and some authorities would say you never need to have one again. If you had a very minor Pap abnormality that did not require surgery, then having a Pap every three years after a hysterectomy seems reasonable.
If you ever had surgical treatment for an abnormal Pap, then it would probably be safest to continue to have a yearly Pap because the HPV virus would probably still be present in the vaginal cells. Also, if you become sexually involved with a new partner, you should have Paps done again until you have had two or three normal Paps in a row.
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.
Pap Smear after Hysterectomy
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