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  • Writer's pictureDr. Reeves

Normal vs. abnormal PAP smears

On the cover of the March 2019 Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, there was a very nice diagram of something I have been trying to help patients visualize for many years. It shows the transformation of normal cervical cells by HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) into progressive stages of abnormality through to cancer development.

The general routine recommended screening schedule: PAP smears annually from age 21-29 with HPV typing, and every 5 years with HPV typing thereafter. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if one has had a hysterectomy for non-cancerous reasons, then routine PAP smears are not recommended. Don't forget or be confused, breast and pelvic exams are recommended annually.

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