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Can a woman ever stop getting a pap test?

(KOMO file photo)

Cervical cancer is a major killer of women worldwide. That's why a routine pap test is so important.

But it turns out that most women who are at normal risk for cervical cancer can stop getting tested when they reach 65. That relatively new recommendation is based on the latest research.

"So if you're 65 years of age and you've had three pap smears done that have consecutively been normal, you can stop,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. “On the other hand, if you're 65 years of age and you haven't been getting a pap smear every three years, you really need to do that because cervical cancer does develop in older women."

Dr. Swartzberg is very concerned that many American women between the ages of 61 and 65 have not been adequately screened for cervical cancer. He says that helps explain why many older women still develop and die from cervical cancer – which can be prevented.

If you haven't been adequately screened, talk to your doctor and arrange to have a "catch-up screening."

More Info: When to Stop Pap Tests

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