Cervical Cancer Screening for Individuals at Average Risk
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: July 30, 2020
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American Cancer Society for Cervical Cancer Screening for Individuals at Average Risk. It is limited to adults 18 years of age and older and should not be used as a reference for children.
- Cervical cancer can be detected even before it becomes cancer by sampling cells from the cervix, a test known as a Pap smear.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the main cause of cervical cancer.
- HPV is a sexually transmitted germ.
- HPV can be detected by a simple screening test.
- This patient summary focuses on screening women for early signs of cervical cancer.
- Pap smears and HPV screening should begin for all women at age 25 and repeat every 5 years until age 65.
- After age 65, women with adequate negative previous testing may discontinue screening.
- HPV: Human Papilloma Virus
Fontham ETH, Wolf AMD, Church TR, Etzioni R, Flowers CR, Herzig A, Guerra CE, Oeffinger KC, Shih YT, Walter LC, Kim JJ, Andrews KS, DeSantis CE, Fedewa SA, Manassaram-Baptiste D, Saslow D, Wender RC, Smith RA. Cervical cancer screening for individuals at average risk: 2020 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020 Sep;70(5):321-346. doi: 10.3322/caac.21628. Epub 2020 Jul 30. PMID: 32729638.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.