A Pap test can alert women about changes in the cervix.
Cancer can develop in the tissues of the cervix, which is located in the lower part of the uterus, connected to the birth canal.
The most frequent cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus—also known as HPV. The only way to find cervical cancer is to have a Pap test as part of a regular pelvic exam. During this test, cells are brushed from the cervix onto a slide so they can be examined under a microscope.
Who should be screened and how often:
- Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap test every three years.
- Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have both a Pap test and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years.
- Women who have had the HPV vaccine should be screened following screening guidelines for their age group.
- Women who are considered at high risk for cervical cancer (those with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] infection, organ transplant or exposure to the drug Diethylstilbestrol [DES]—a synthetic form of estrogen) should be screened more often.
- Women over age 65 who have had regular screenings with normal results should not be screened.
- Women who have had their uterus and cervix removed in a hysterectomy and have no history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer should not be screened.
- Women diagnosed with cervical pre-cancer should continue to be screened.
Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best screening guidelines for you.
We offer help for screening and cancer treatment:
If you don’t have insurance or you can’t afford a Pap test, there is a program that could provide the screening for you. Find out about it now.
If you should be diagnosed with cervical cancer and you can’t afford treatment, the Delaware Cancer Treatment Program provides free cancer treatment for up to two years. Cancer Care Coordinators help guide you through treatment, scheduling visits with doctors and making sure you get the care you need.
Learn about the HPV vaccine that has been developed for girls and boys to help prevent cervical cancer.
A Nurse Navigator can schedule a cancer screening for you.
Every health care system in the state has Nurse Navigators who can schedule your cancer screening and provide follow-up help - whether you have health insurance or not. Use this form to request a callback, or call the Nurse Navigator at the facility closest to you:
If you would like to speak directly to a Nurse Navigator you can call the facility closest to you from the list below.