By Misty Cox, FNP-C, WHNP, family nurse practitioner
The early stages of cervical cancer don’t have any symptoms, and that’s why it’s so important to get your well-woman exam annually. If you are aged 21-30, pap smears are recommended every three years; If you are 30-65 years old, a pap smear is encouraged every 5 years. However, if you have an abnormal pap smear, your provider will bring you back sooner for either a repeat pap smear or a procedure to make sure you do not have any cancer cells. If cancer cells are detected, your women’s health provider will refer you to an oncologist to provide specialized care.