Skip to main content

Cervical Cancer Screenings

To schedule your cervical cancer screening:
  • Call your ob-gyn. Some primary care providers (PCP) may also perform this screening.
  • Find an ob-gyn or a PCP using our provider search tool.
  • Get help from a Health Care Concierge by chatting on MyHealth OnLine or calling the number on your member ID card. Health Care Concierges are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Important notices:

  • UPMC Health Plan members with employee-sponsored insurance plans: Getting preventive screenings may help you earn toward your wellness incentive! Check your plan benefits today to check eligibility.
  • UPMC for You members may qualify for transportation assistance for preventive screenings. For more details, visit the Medical Assistance Transportation Program website.
Cervical cancer affects the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina). It is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer when caught early.

Doctors use a Pap test, combined Pap/human papillomavirus (HPV) test or high-risk HPV DNA test to check for cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are found in women who do not have regular screenings. Regular testing helps find cervical cancer or precancer changes early.

Cervical cancer and HPV FAQ

Expand All Collapse All

How many people get cervical cancer?

More than 12,500 women in the U.S. will find out they have cervical cancer this year. About 4,100 women will die of the disease. But over the past 40 years, the death rate from cervical cancer has dropped significantly due to regular screening tests.

How are HPV screenings and cervical cancer screenings related?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes almost all cervical cancer. But if you have HPV, that does not mean you will get cancer.

Can men get HPV?

Yes. Men can get HPV by having sex with a partner who has HPV. It often has no signs or symptoms.

How can I prevent HPV?

HPV spreads through sexual contact and can also spread through contact with an infected body part. Be sure to use protection.

A two-dose HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys and can be given as early as age 9. HPV vaccines are recommended for everyone up to 26 years old if not vaccinated.

If I have HPV, does this mean I will get cervical cancer?

No. HPV causes almost all cervical cancer, but that does not mean you will get cervical cancer.

Screening FAQ

Expand All Collapse All

How often should I get screened?

  • Women ages 21 to 65 should get a Pap test every three years; OR,
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should get the combined Pap/HPV or hrHPV test every five years.

What happens during the screening?

Your provider will use a speculum (duck-bill-shaped device) to look inside the vagina and cervix. Then, with a tiny cotton swab or spatula, the doctor or gynecologist will collect cells from your cervix to send to a lab. Once the lab receives the cotton swab, they test for cancer cells or cells that could become cancerous.

How long does the screening take?

Just a few minutes.

Where can I get a cervical cancer screening?

Your ob-gyn. Some primary care providers (PCP) may also perform this screening.

How much does a cervical cancer screening cost?

All preventive screenings cost nothing for UPMC Health Plan and UPMC for You members.

How to prepare for a screening

  • Do not schedule this test when you have your period. Reschedule your appointment if your period starts, unless your period is light.
  • Know the first day of your last period and how long it lasted.
  • For at least 24 hours before the test, do not have sex or use tampons, douches, vaginal medicines, sprays, or powders.
  • Prepare to undress fully or from the waist down. You will stay covered the whole time with a gown or cloth. You will lie on an exam table with your feet on footrests. You may want to wear a pair of socks to keep your feet warm.
  • Let your doctor know if this is your first Pap test, you are using birth control, you are or think you may be pregnant, or if you have any other concerns.
  • Tell the doctor if you feel anxious about the test or if anything hurts.