Widely used guidelines on screening women for cervical cancer have several important changes, including a recommendation to start screening at a slightly older age and use of an HPV test as the primary screening test. Credit: iStock. Routine cervical cancer screening is very effective for preventing cervical cancer and deaths from the disease.
Screening tests help find cervical cancer before any symptoms develop. When cervical cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. A procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix (the lower, narrow part of the uterus, or womb) and examined under a microscope.
A Pap test is a simple screening test that can detect cell changes in the cervix that may lead to cancer before women feel any symptoms. When to Get Screened. The Ontario Cervical Screening Program recommends that women who are or have been sexually active have a Pap test every 3 years starting at age 21.