Question for Dr. CC: Why do I need a Pap test at age 79?

Dear Dr. CC,

I’m 79 healthy senior lady. My doctor recently recommended a Pap tests for me. I have no history of any problems in this area. Is this really necessary at my age?  I do not have money (or time) to waste on unnecessary tests!  From Lorna T.

Dear Lorna,

The American Cancer Society recommends that Pap test screening be discontinued at age 70 in women who have had at least three normal Pap tests in the past 10 years and are not at increased risk for cervical cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force says that women at average risk for cervical cancer can stop Pap test screening at age 65. And according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women at average risk can stop screening between the ages of 65 and 70.

But all this depends on your family history. If you’ve had routine normal Pap tests up to now, you are not likely to need further screening, since your risk for cervical cancer seems low.

The organizations that set these guidelines for cervical cancer screening generally agree that the guideline do not apply if a woman has tested positive for human papillomavirus (the sexually transmitted virus associated with cervical cancer), or has been exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero, or is HIV-positive or immune-compromised or otherwise at increased risk for cervical cancer (for example, because of a past family history of the disease). In any of these circumstances, a you should work with your clinician to develop an personalized screening program.

I am not an alopathic physician (regular medical doctor), but I do hope this helps!

Dr. CC

REFERENCE: Harvard Women’s Health Watch


About Elder Care Advice blog

Get professional elder care giving advice, advocacy, education and tips for those who care for and about the frail elderly at the ElderCareAdvice blog. We are generously sponsored by Most posts are written by Cathleen V. Carr, unless attributed otherwise. We welcome relevant submissions. Submit your article and by-line for publishing consideration (no promises!) to Havi at, our own editor who will ensure submissions are given the best possible treatment and polish before publication, ensuring a professional level of publication. There is a nominal service fee involved ($45). Allow up to 30 days for publishing.
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