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Cervical Health Across the Lifespan: A Comprehensive Guide

May 30, 2024

Cervical health is a critical component of overall well-being, and taking a proactive approach to care across different life stages is essential for maintaining a healthy reproductive system. Let's explore guidelines for cervical health care from adolescence through menopause.


In the early years of adolescence (ages 13 to 18), establishing a foundation for cervical health is crucial, starting with vaccination and education.

  • HPV vaccination: Ensure completion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination series. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends starting the vaccination series at ages 11 or 12 to protect against cervical cancer
  • Education: Education on menstrual hygiene, safe sex practices and the importance of regular health check-ups sets the stage for a lifetime of proactive health management.

Early adulthood

As you transition into early adulthood (ages 19 to 30), safe sex practices, along with regular screenings for HPV and cervical cancer, become more important. “HPV is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection, especially among sexually active individuals 18 to 30 years old,” said Lee Appelbaum, D.O., Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician at Inspira Medical Group. “But it’s also the leading cause of cervical cancer, making regular screenings crucial.”

  • Regular screening: Regular Pap smears and cervical cancer screenings are recommended every three years or as advised by a health care professional to screen for HPV and cervical cancer.
  • STI prevention and contraception: Safe sex practices and the use of birth control help prevent sexually transmitted infections and contribute to overall reproductive health.

Mid-adulthood and perimenopause

From your 30s through your 50s, you become more at risk of cervical cancer. “Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 35 and 44, with the average age being 50,” said Dr. Appelbaum. “It rarely develops in people younger than 20.”

  • Screening and regular check-ups: Continue with regular cervical screenings and discuss any changes in your reproductive health with your health care provider.

Menopause and postmenopause

After 50 years old, in your menopausal and postmenopausal years, you may still be at risk for cervical cancer. “More than 20 percent of cervical cancers are found in individuals over 65,” said Dr. Appelbaum. “However, these cancers rarely occur in those who’ve been getting regular screenings throughout their life, as screening helps detect cancers at their earlier stages.”

  • Continue screening until 65: If you haven’t had your cervix removed (hysterectomy), the CDC recommends continuing regular Pap smears until you’re at least 65 years old. 

“Unfortunately, you can still get cervical cancer after 65, but if you’ve had several negative tests in a row within the previous ten years, you can stop testing,” said Dr. Appelbaum.

Inspira’s skilled gynecologic oncologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat a range of cancers affecting the reproductive organs and surrounding tissue. Visit us here to learn more.

Inspira Medical Group offers an experienced team of women’s health specialists throughout Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties. To begin your journey to find a women’s health care provider at Inspira, click here

Topics: Women's Health