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When Can I Stop My Pap?

One misconception among women is that a Pap equates a speculum exam or vice versa.  A Pap smear is a simple smearing of the cervical cells when we do a speculum exam.  A speculum is the way we can visualize the cervix itself.  There are many other reasons we’ll do a speculum exam without actually doing the Pap smear (i.e. check for vaginal infections).


The current recommendation is that it is reasonable to discontinue Pap smears at either 65 or 70 years of age if they had 3 consecutive normal Paps.  They also have to have had normal Paps in the last 10 years.  If screening is discontinued, risk factors should be assessed yearly to see if it needs to be reinstituted.


Now this doesn’t mean you don’t need a pelvic exam ladies.  Even though a Pap may not be needed, you still need yearly breast, pelvic and rectal exams to screen for other problems.


I know many of you were hoping that you can get out of pelvic exam.  Sorry :(



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Dr. Benjamin Chen


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