Ruth from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia asked:

If you’ve had a hysterectomy, do you no longer need regular pap smears?

Pap screen

A doctor told my friend that she doesn't need Pap smears after her hysterectomy. Is that true?

Our answer

If a woman has had a hysterectomy, it does not necessarily mean she no longer needs to have regular Pap tests. It depends on the type of hysterectomy, the reason for the hysterectomy and the woman’s Pap test history prior to surgery. Women will still need to have regular Pap tests or vaginal smears (where a cell sample is taken from the top of the vagina) if they:

*Still have a cervix
*Had a hysterectomy as part of treatment for a gynaecological cancer (eg. cervical, ovarian, endometrial or vaginal cancer)
*Have ever had a significant abnormality detected on a Pap test
*Have never had a Pap test.

We would advise all women who have had a hysterectomy to ask their doctor whether they still need to have Pap tests.

This page was last updated on: June 20, 2012

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