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Do I have to continue having pap-smears?

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Dear Doc,

I am age 50 and no longer have sex since my husband died. Seeing that I am no longer sexually active do I have to continue having pap-smears?{{more}}

Martha

Dear Martha,

Yes!!!

There are many documented cases of women above 40 being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Many never had pap-smears, whilst others stopped after cessation of sexual intercourse due to separation from partner or the belief that since that they have stopped having children it was not necessary.

One obvious reason for continuing the pap-smears is because previous exposure to HPV means that the potential for cancer development is possible. The other is that HPV infection because of intercourse, is not the only reason for the development of cervical cancer.

The development and spread of cervical cancer like other cancers takes time and any prolonged period without investigating the possibility of its existence does not give us the chance of finding the earliest possible changes.

Cervical cancer can develop and spread even after age 40. Do not let age trick you into getting cervical cancer.

Doc

SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 526-7036

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