When to get a pap...?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2010
When to get a pap...?
Mon, 07-19-2010 - 8:48am

In the course of a discussion with my friend, she told me that she was thinking about changing doctors because her's got salty with her for requesting that the doc prescribe her bc pills without a pap.

We are both in our late 20s. I am married, sexually active, and have been taking the pill since I was a teen because I used to have severe cramps and, on more than one occassion, had issues with ovarian cysts. My family also has a history of ovarian cancer and other severe uterus issues.

My friend is single and a virgin. She started taking the pill to regulate her period when she was in her early 20s - and also as a "just in case she found mr right." She contends that because she is not currently sexually active and has no family history of uterine/ovarian issues that she does not need the pap.

Everything that I have read says that if you are over 21, you should get it every year. I am passionate about getting it done because of my family history. What is the reality about when to get it done?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-07-2007
Mon, 07-19-2010 - 11:29am

According to the National Cancer Institute: Women should talk with their clinician about when and how often they should have a Pap test. Current general guidelines recommend that women have a Pap test at least once every 3 years, beginning about 3 years after they begin to have sexual intercourse, but no later than age 21. Experts recommend waiting about 3 years after the start of sexual activity to avoid overtreatment for common, temporary abnormal changes. It is safe to wait 3 years, because cervical cancer usually develops slowly. Cervical cancer is extremely rare in women under age 25.