Mercy Gynecologist Dr. Christine O’Connor Discusses Pap Smear Guidelines
Doctors recommend women start getting a Pap test at the age of 21 and then every three years until the age 65.
The test screens for cancer cells on the cervix. Early detection is important because precancerous cells are easy to treat.
According to gynecologist Dr. Christine O'Connor, Director of Well-Woman and Adolescent Care in The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy, women who get tested for HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer, along with getting the Pap test, can wait longer in between screenings.
"If you have HPV testing, you can space it to every five years, and that's because you're having two tests to see if you have potential for cervical cancer, and if both of those tests are negative, you're at an extremely low risk for having anything happen within that time frame," Dr. O'Connor said.
Patients should discuss with their doctor what's appropriate for them. Women at higher risk may need additional screenings.
View Mercy gynecologist Dr. Christine O’Connor’s interview regarding pap smear guidelines.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.