Ask the Doctor
August 19, 2014

Do I still have to have pap smears if am no longer sexually active?

Dear Doc,

I am 50 years old and no longer have sex since my husband died. Seeing that I am no longer sexually active, do I have to continue having pap-smears?{{more}}


Dear Linda,


There are many documented cases of women above forty being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Many never had pap smears, whilst others stopped after cessation of sexual intercourse due to separation from their partner or the belief that since that they have stopped having children it was not necessary.

One obvious reason for continuing the pap smears is because previous exposure to HPV means that the potential for cancer development is possible. The other is that HPV infection because of intercourse is not the only reason for the development of cervical cancer.

The development and spread of cervical cancer, like other cancers, takes time and any prolonged period without investigating the possibility of its existence does not give us the chance of finding the earliest possible changes.

Cervical cancer can develop and spread even after age 40. Do not let age trick you into getting cervical cancer.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.