Cervical Cancer Screening


Get cervical cancer screenings regularly

  • A Pap test and/or HPV test are the best ways to find cervical cancer early so that it can be treated successfully. Through the Pap test, a healthcare provider can check for abnormal cells and cancer cells on the cervix. The HPV test looks for the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer.
  • Many older women don't realize that they are still at risk of developing cervical cancer as they age. More than 20% of cervical cancers are found in women over 65. However, these cancers rarely occur in women who have been getting regular tests to screen for cervical cancer before they were 65. (2024 American Cancer Society)

How often do I need to get screened? 

Two tests are widely used to screen for cancer in the cervix: the Pap test can find abnormal cells early before they turn into cancer, and the HPV test looks for the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer.

  • All women should begin cervical cancer testing (screening) at age 21.
  • Women ages 21 to 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group unless it is needed after an abnormal Pap test result.
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should get a Pap test and HPV test every five years, or an HPV test alone every five years, or a Pap test only every three years.
  • Providers generally agree that women can consider stopping routine Pap testing at age 65 if their previous tests for cervical cancer have been negative. (2024 Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Benefits of Screening 

  • Pap tests can find cell changes or precancerous lesions that have developed on the cervix. HPV tests can find the virus that is the main cause of cervical cancer. Abnormal cells and lesions on the cervix can be treated before cancer develops. 

What services are covered by Women's Way?

Women’s Way covers payment for program-enrolled women ages 40 through 64 for:

  • Pap test every three years, or every five years with a combination of Pap test and HPV testing, or every five years for HPV testing alone for women who want to lengthen the screening interval.
  • Annual Pap tests for high-risk populations, which include women with exposure in utero to diethylstilbestrol or those who have HIV or weakened immune systems who require more frequent screening.
  • Pap tests for women with total hysterectomies with removal of the cervix due to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2 or 3 or cervical cancer.
  • Repeat Pap tests are needed for follow-up of an abnormal Pap test.
  • Cervical diagnostic services such as colposcopies and biopsies.

Women’s Way covers payment for program-enrolled women ages 21 through 39 for:

  • Pap test, if due or past due for screening according to the current USPSTF Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines – has not had a Pap test within the last 3 to 5 years.
  • Pap test as a follow-up to a previous abnormal result.
  • HPV test (women ages 21-29) only if the woman has had a documented abnormal Pap test and HPV test is indicated according to the ASCCP guideline.
  • HPV test alone (women ages 30-39) or as part of co-testing along with Pap test or if needed due to an abnormal Pap test result.
  • Cervical diagnostic services.