Maybe not. Many women are getting tested for cervical cancer more often than necessary, according to a new published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Researchers found that most doctors are telling their patients to come back for a Pap test every year, but that's not what official guidelines recommend.
According to the here's what you should do when it comes to cervical cancer screening:
â¢All women should start getting screened about 3 years after they start having sex but no later than 21 years old. Young women should get a regular Pap test every 1-2 years with the liquid-based Pap test.
â¢Starting at age 30, women who have 3 normal Pap tests in a row can wait 2-3 years for their next test. Or they can get screened every 3 years with a Pap test plus an HPV test.
Of course, the rules are different for women who are at increased risk for , as they may need to be screened more vigilantly. But if you're over 30, don't have any risk factors, and haven't recently received any abnormal results, experts say it's perfectly fine to wait 2-3 years between tests.
The downside of over-testing? It's expensive, and it can lead to a lot of unnecessary tests if you get a false positive results (which is pretty common with Paps).
That being said, don't skip your annual ob-gyn checkup even if you're not getting a Pap this year: She'll still need to examine you and go over any changes to your health history.