The pedals… the snot… the jelly that your doctor never fully clears. Yes, paps are (in some ways) painful, but cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, thanks to Paps, which can detect problems before they become cancerous, the first 10 aren’t even ruled out.
However, the American Cancer Society estimates that 13,240 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in 2018, 31 percent of which will be fatal. And according to the CDC, six out of 10 cervical cancers occur in women who have never had a Pap test or have not had one in the past five years. (Of course, according to the CDC, all women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get a Pap smear every three years between the ages of 21 and 30, and every five years between the ages of 30 and 65.)
“In fact, one of the biggest risk factors for cervical cancer is not having a Pap smear within the last five years,” says Eloise Chapman-Davis, M.D., a gynecologic oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York-Presbyterian.