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Do I still need pap-smears after my hysterectomy?

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Dear Doc,

I had a hysterectomy three years ago. I guess that I have no reason to think of pap-smears or should I?{{more}}

Marva

Dear Marva,

This is a very good question. A colleague told me of a case where a gynaecologist was sued by a former patient, because she was diagnosed with cervical cancer 10 years after having had a hysterectomy.

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that is done to remove the uterus. Some can decide to also remove the cervix. Many decide to leave the cervix, because it gives pleasurable sensation during intercourse.

A woman who has had a hysterectomy MUST be told if the cervix has been removed or if it was left. If the cervix is left, then regular annual pap-smears should continue. It is also advised that a woman whose cervix was removed must have smears of the vaginal vault done at regular intervals, especially in the region where the cervix was attached.

If you don’t know whether the cervix was removed or not, you should get in contact with the gynaecologist that did the surgery, or simply have your doctor examine you to find out. Get a vault-smear or cervical smear at the same time.

Doc

SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 526-7036

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