Most women over 65 and those who have had a hysterectomy (with cervix removed) should stop having Pap tests. If you are over 65 and have had normal results in recent years and are not at increased risk for cervical cancer, you no longer need to be screened, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
However, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, based on a nationwide survey, found that half of such women over 65 have had a Pap test in the past three years. It also found that almost two-thirds of women who had undergone a total hysterectomy had a recent Pap test, even though nearly all of them no longer needed one. The researchers estimate that altogether this represents 14 million American women who have been screened unnecessarily. Discuss your cancer screening schedule with your health care provider.