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Pap tests after surgery

daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Help me understand this. For the 1-2 years my gyn-onc has not done any pap tests. I has TAH 3 years ago and got paps for about a year after. When he stopped doing them I inquired. He said it's not necessary "because there's nothing to test". I discussed this with my PCP recently and she agreed. My understanding is that since the cervix was removed there is no reason to test for cervical cancer which is what pap tests for.

But I am still confused because Karen and others are still getting pap tests. So what is the story? I do have great confidence in my docs but don't understand why some of us are getting paps and others not.

Please help me understand this. Inquiring minds want to know!! MA

california_artist's picture
Posts: 864
Joined: Jan 2009

googled. time spent under three minutes, just in case you think I might spend all day on google. I just got back from a bike ride.


Pap tests are still important after some types of hysterectomy
Women will still need regular Pap tests or vaginal smears (where a cell sample is taken from the top of the vagina) if they:
· Still have a cervix (partial hysterectomy)
· Have had a hysterectomy as part of treatment for gynaecological cancer, such as cancer of the uterus
· Have ever had a significant abnormality detected on a Pap test
· Have never had a Pap test.

This may be a government sponsered site due to the .gov part of the url. I don't know. But itis something you can show to your doc. My doc uses a very bright light and says he can actually see if the cancer has returned but does the pap anyway to catch it before he can see it.

kkstef's picture
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Mary Ann,

A good question. My Dr. told me that one of the areas of recurrence would be the vaginal cuff and that is why he did a pap (which is really a smear from the upper vaginal area since there is no cervix anymore), then every 3 months for 2 years, then every 4 months for a year and now every 6 months for 2 years and then annually.

It seems like Claudia's google results, confirms this.

Will be anxious to hear what your Dr. says about this.

Best to you always!


jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Karen & Claudia are right on the money, according to my research and my oncol. My appts now are every 6 months and he still does a PAP at each visit. When prior to my last (August) appt I had some spotting thinking it was recurrence, he told me visually couldn't see a thing, but the PAP would tell another story if something was going on. All was "negative and normal" so no worry....but he relies on PAP

My gut feeling is go with PAP,but something you'll need to discuss further with you doc. Also, many docs have different ways of following us with tests, possibly this isn't right for you for some reason. Nice to hear his side....


sunflash's picture
Posts: 182
Joined: Aug 2011

My original cancer which was diagnosed in 2007 was vaginal cancer. It is an hpv driven cancer......as is cervical cancer. They are basically the same type of cancer, only the site is different. 80% of women have been exposed to the hpv virus at some time in their life. Most women have a strong enough immune system to fight it off, however, there are some who don't, myself included. I never had an abnormal pap until I was 54 yrs old,and AFTER my vaginal cancer was diagnosed. At that time I didn't know this virus existed. You can be exposed to hpv and have it lay dormant in your body for over 30 years, and then it can begin to cause abnormal paps.
My gyn/onc has been diligent in performing 2 paps when I have my checkups, one vaginal and one cervical, up until I had my hysterectomy and uterine cancer was discovered. She will still perform vaginal paps when I have my checkups, even though my paps and hpv tests come back clear. Clear hpv tests mean for me that the virus has returned to a dormant state, but could still reappear at some point.
It seems as if many doctors aren't trained well in the matter of hpv.......it is certainly something to discuss with your doctor.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 1591
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Mary Ann:

I had my hysterectomy in 2005. Since then I had PAP smears every six months, and then every year. I have had four different doctors. My recent doctor is from a different state and I had my appointment in June and they did a PAP test. It was my understanding that just because they removed the cervix they still check for abnormal cells in that area.

Also, after one of my tests it did come back with some abnormality, but I was told that was not unusual after having brachytherapy even though it was over three years since I had that.

Oh and another thing, when I was on the every six months, I was alternating doctors. I would see my gyn/onc and six months later I would see my Radiation/Onc. My radiation oncologist also took a PAP to look for changes from the radiation.


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